Need a gift idea? On Saturday morning, December 15, at 9:00 a.m. three friends and I went to Palmyra Cove Nature Park for a bird-watching course with a Cove ranger. She took us on a three hour hike around several kinds of habitats where we were able to see a dozen kinds of birds. We saw three kinds of ducks, Cardinals and Carolina Wrens, even a Hummingbird who lost her way somehow and ended up alone at the nature center for the winter. We saw a Coopers Hawk and several wild turkeys. It was great fun and a pleasure to hike the park again. I've been there a few times each year in different seasons. This was my favorite hike because I have never been seriously bird-watching before.
The gift idea is, of course, binoculars. I didn't have any, so I bought a pair of Bushnells for about $50 which were perfectly serviceable for a novice, entry level bird watcher. My companions had everything from $300 binoculars to $25 ones. The Park would have provided spares should any of us not have had them, but everyone on this hike (a couple of dozen people were in the group) including my friends, were more experienced bird-watchers than I and all had their own.
I would do it again and I understand there is a full day course in February.
I'd like to see an owl sometime.
My favorite totally unexpected sighting in the past were:
A dead tree filled with big black buzzards in Swedesboro one fall, a tree full of white egrets off of Newton Creek on a kayaking trip one summer evening, and a tree full of red birds I thought were cardinals but I've been told since that cardinals don't flock, so now I don't know what they were! It wa February when I saw them.
Oh, I almost forgot, I saw migrating Purple Martins on the Maurice River last year on a boat trip. It was Captain Dave's trip from Millville, $10.00 on seniors' day (Thursday?) and we saw half a dozen eagles and several once rare
Call1-856-293-0556 to make an appointment for a boat trip. The schedule begins again in May 2013. You could give the binoculars for a gift with info for a promised trip in May!
By the way, we all went to Riverton to a corner cafe called Zena's Patisserie for a delicious lunch and I highly recommend this little place for a good meal in a quaint and interesting town.