Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Bagpipes soon to be required when applying for beach buggy pass. Kilt is optional.
Friday, September 06, 2019: Well, we’re getting hit by quite a misticane. A fine but soaking mist has been blowing in all frickin’ day. Hey, if you want the world’s most hydrated and plumped up skin just do a half hour beachwalk into these vaporous 25 mph NE winds.
Obviously, we’re getting nothing of even tropical storm status. There hasn’t been enough moisture to make puddles much less lead to significant flooding. I doubt we’ve seen a 30-something gust.
Indeed, this was yet another sky bullet dodged. With so much emphasis being placed on such dodges, many folks have begun keeping close track of the bullet count. While drama prevails, I can’t remember a year – dating back to the Fifties – that it wasn’t always a relief to sidestep a hurricane. It was never as popular as it is now to elevate storm watching to such a sporting degree. Hey, I can thing of worse forms of entertainment, like badminton. Just kidding all you shuttlecock sorts. Yes, I can’t use the word “shuttlecock.” That’s the weird white wingy thing they hit around in badminton. (Can you tell this day is boring the hell out me?)
Hurakán days of the past: Here’s a timely bit of cyclonic trivia worth repeating on a misty day: The word “hurricane” stems from the ancient Caribbean/Florida Native American Taino culture’s expression hurakán. It was a stand-in term for their “god of evil,” though some word warriors allege it meant “the god of wind, storm, and fire.” That windier read is a documented Mayan definition of their word huracán, which stems from some mighty wild beliefs.
In the Mayan language, the almost identical word hunraqan means “having one leg.” It was generally reserved for the Kʼiche,ʼ the Mayan god of wind, storm -- and watery holocausts in general. Kʼicheʼ and his one human leg – I haven’t got space to get into why only one leg -- was more lengthily called U Kʼux Kaj, translated "Heart of Sky."
Kʼicheʼ was a heavy-hitter, one of the Mayan creator deities who had a hand – and, apparently, a leg – in that religion’s belief in three attempts at creating humanity. He was most famed for pissing off all his demigod cohorts by causing a “great flood” that pretty much drowned out one of those humanization attempts. Where is he now? It is believed -- by scant few remaining Mayans -- that Kʼicheʼ still reigns in windy mists that accompany flooding, which could mean he’s down at ground level today.
The final dispersion of hurricane-sounding words came with early Spanish explorers, tweaking it into huracán, while Great Britain anglicized it into hurricane.
Science is now undertaking own extrapolation by utterly mispronouncing hurricane as “cyclone.”
PS: I was once taught (in school, much less) that the word “hurricane” came from a Native American term “hurried cane,” referring to sugar cane blowing wildly in cyclonic winds. As noted above, the word from whence hurricane surely originated existed long before sugar cane was first introduced into the Caribbean, circa 1500. Which brings up a saying of mine: History books are most often written by people who weren’t there writing about things they know little or nothing about. Just sayin’.
LOCAL IMPORT: It’s a decent time of year to make a stop-see at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Trail on (Cedar) Bonnet Island. Bugginess has dropped and birds are on the move.
But that suggestion is not of great “local” import. Instead, I need to bring up what is more than mere passing debate regarding the proper name of the first sedge island immediately east of the Causeway Big Bridges -- it’s the one with the Forsythe trail to the south of Rte. 72 and the Boat Yard watering hole to the north.
Here goes: Both the refuge and NJDOT have gone with calling it Cedar Bonnet Island. Au contraire, says many, like those believing the one-and-only Cedar Bonnet Island is the heavily-developed member of the “Bonnet Islands” -- the one that hosts many households, the formerly-existing Dutchman’s Brauhaus and one of the state’s narrowest, trickiest and sobriety-demanding underpasses.
No, it’s not a moot point. There might even be a safety issue should a Bonnet Island emergency be called in as occurring on Cedar Bonnet Island – or its roadways. Time could be lost looking for the emergency on the wrong Bonnet Island.
You likely picked up on my prejudice favoring the littler island being called Cedar Bonnet Island. That shows what side of the opinion bridge I’m on – based on what many of us have called those islands for many a decade. Those living there also go with Cedar Bonnet Island – rightly, wrongly or in-between.
For now, the signage placed by the refuge and the designation by those working on the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project (see map below) will stick with the larger of the Bonnet Islands being called Cedar Bonnet Island, thus designating the smaller island as Bonnet Island.
By the by, the oldest area maps I own, going well back into the 1800s, use the combination term of “Bonnet Islands” for both. I’ll now start researching the first maps differentiating between Bonnet Island and Cedar Bonnet Island.
I recently posted the following shots of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) perched on the overhead lighting in the Aldi parking lot, Manahawkin. These are NOT the common huge black carrion-seeking birds we see by the dozens. Those are are everyday turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), also known as turkey buzzards or even chicken hawks.
I don't recall coming across black vultures in this area, even though I got Facebook comments about "they're everywhere" or 'I have dozens roosting near my house." Again, those are turkey buzzards. Black buzzard are newcomers, moving up from the south -- in growing numbers.
A huge difference between the two different species -- outside their faces -- is how black vultures have far less fear of humans, as this parking lot look proves. Turkey buzzards are among the most skitterish of all birds, not allowing humans anywhere near them. While the two species intermingle when feeding or seeking food, they don't crossbreed.
Aldi's black vultures (Coragyps atratus)
Seen everywhere turkey vultures (Cathartes aura)
Check this out ... both the gull and the beluga seem to know it's all in fun. Weird.