Below: My favorite artsy shot from Holgate ... taken in the wake of a storm as tidal pool emptied.
Below: Wicked winter winds ... ABOVE: THE BACK CUT WHEN IT OINKS ...
Below: Refuge makes power moved on invasive species ...
ABOVE: A Lacewing takes refuge from Holgate winds.
Below: Nature uses black sand to express itself ... Upper pic: Ya see the wild man from Borneo?
Lower pic: NJ with a shark bite taken out of it?
Something relaxing about this gent's bike jaunt to the end ...
Just-in hookup by Jack Larini “So I saw all the birds working up on the north end of the island from my grandparents house, quickly grabbed my gear, aired down my tires and headed for the birds. Landed a handful of fish as they swam by in schools blitzing on peanut bunker. Everybody was catching on a variety of lures but they were all in the 25-32 inch range. I moved down to a different hole where it was just me and another guy on either side of it. I then saw some bass pushing some bait against the outside/back of the bar. Casted my 1 oz white s&s bucktail tipped with a white kettle creek paddle as far as I could out to where they were busting and 2 seconds after it hit the water I felt the bump, I set the hook, and the drag just started screaming… wouldn’t stop. I thought I had two on (one on the bucktail & one on teaser) I carefully worked it back over the bar still thinking it was two and then saw the huge tail slap out of the water in the trough in between the Surfline and the sand bar and then knew it was a big one. I worked it even more carefully back and forth with the incoming waves until there was a good one to slide him on in with. Got the opportunity I was looking for. Screamed to the guy on the other side of the hole “come take my picture!” As he was running over I quickly grabbed a measurement and he was pushing 40 inches without the tail pinched. Then had the awesome gentleman next to me take my pic and then the cow was on his merry way! I caught right at the top of high tide. The picture is time stamped at 2:53 pm”
Sunday, November 28, 2021: I suppose the largest non-newsy news is the return of snowy owls to Holgate, possibly two, surely one.
Here’s a shot from Tom Beaty ...
I got word the minute the first one hit the ground but discretely opted out of my usual rush to photograph -- and Facebookize the arrival.
Due to my somewhat high profile on LBI, being part of the local media and all, whenever I proffer any pics of these stunning white owls, I catch hell on the half shell for egregiously exposing their whereabouts.
Gripes and nasty-ass communiques about letting the owl out of the bag most often come from nonresident naturalists and photographers, who alleged I’m ruining the lives of the owls by drawing in hordes of owlseers, even though I’ve never seen more than scant handful of folks making the sometimes-grueling trudge in search of what is often a moving target. I can’t help but notice these same gripers consider their arrivals as justified, seeing they are somehow all but invisible to the owls, which can see them coming at least a mile away – and most likely know their intent to focus in on them. Yep, owls are just that insightful. They’ve told me so. Doh! Now they’ll know that I commune with snowys, making me that much worse a person.
Despite our Mann-on-owl chats, I’m far from an expert on snowys, nonetheless, I’ve grown quite familiar with the tendencies of those that overwinter in Holgate, right down to the fact that virtually none of them are overly concerned with limited human pass-bys, meaning the comings and goings of admirers.
I oft retell of the times I’ve had snowy owls actually fly toward me and my truck. I have photos and vids as proof that they landed very close, as if wanting a close-up look at me -- maybe even a touch of playful payback. I’ll extend that by wondering if humans are as interesting to them as vice versa.
Bank on it: If these snowys were bugged to hell and back by human botherers, they could easily up and wing off -- to some more secretive spot.
WORRISOME WOODS: A search for a missing Warren Grove couple has ended with their bodies being found about 200 yards from their home. They were spotted by a drone. Police do not suspect foul play. Suicide is also ruled out, meaning exposure is high on the list. As to why they were found so far from their home, considering how familiar they were with the area -- that is mysterious to the mind-boggling point. Sadly -- and bothersomely -- we might never know.
The effort to find the couple was monumental -- and a tribute to both Warren Grove locals and emergency personnel. It is now in the hands of the county investigators and autopsies to determine cause of death.
The highly mysterious disappearance of the two was big news, as was the saturation searching of some truly rough and untamed wooded areas near where they lived. The lone clue was the discovery of a quad belonging to the man. It was found seemingly abandoned; the man’s shotgun still holstered on the ORV.
The woods in that area are well known to me, not only from decades of exploring with camera and metal detector, but as part of another lost/missing person search in 2013, when a hunter, whose car and dog were found near a hunting club in the woods, also led to a huge unsuccessful search.
“Barnett Zeldin, 74, of Mays Landing never returned home from a hunting trip in the Bass River State Forest in the undeveloped Warren Grove area along the Ocean and Burlington County line according to the South Jersey Times,” reported https://nj1015.com/.
I do not bring that up that missing hunter matter to make a connection to the deaths of the couple only to show how tough it is to find the missing, even when they’re not far from home.
It must be noted in fairness to our elite crews of local rescue squads, that being lost in the Pinelands -- in a more traditional sense, meaning wandering around needing help to relocate humanity -- is highly survivable. The trick is always letting others know where you’re heading, if only roughly.
101: One should never go into the woods without some sort of fire making capacity. Even an old-fashioned pack of paper bar matches will suffice. This is not for making a survival fire, though this time of year that could be a must, but first-and-foremost to make smoke signals to alert rescuers – or catch the eye of watchers in fire towers.
A huge must-have in the woods is a good whistle. There are whistles with over a half-mile range. I have one. It is so loud that it can’t be used as even a joke in a confined space. I learned that the hard ear-ringing way.
By the by, you CANNOT rely on cellphone service in many areas of the Pines. Even if you do have service, it’s no guarantee you’ll be quickly located, thus the need for fire or whistle.
As most folks know, the trick to being found in the woods is to find the most open spot, even if it’s just an area of smaller trees. They used choppers in search of the missing couple.
In all my woodsing days, I’ve only come across four separate lost folks/groups. All but one involved folks who were not overly lost, just turned around, the famed lost bearings. All were thankful to see me – that is after the initial shock of seeing a crazed looking man busting out of the underbrush. “Whazzup?”
The only spooky case involved a pair of gals, in their twenties, who had worked themselves into quite a “We’re lost!” lather, leading to veritable shrieks for help. I just about killed myself running through green briers – one of the rare times I was wearing shorts -- to get to them, convinced someone was critically hurt. I was not my jovial self when I reached them and quickly realized they were just freaked and not damaged. They were truly glad to see even me.
For whatever reason, they had tried to bushwhack a shortcut back to their car, leaving behind the well-marked fire ditch they had been walking. Real smart. I reluctantly guided them back to the ditch while internally mocking the stylish outdoor gear and clothing they wore. I told them they might want to retire from woods walking. Of course (gospel truth), they tried to give me money for my non rescue, likely motivated by my truly hideously ripped apart legs. I still have memorial scars. By the time I relocated my metal detector, that I had thrown down to execute the rescue, I just kissed the whole day goodbye.
That said, there is always the possibility of life-threatening lostness, something many folks underestimate when nonchalantly enjoying the inner recesses of the Pinelands.
Have I ever gotten lost? Damn straight. And I’ll blame metal detecting, where I’m looking down and going in all different directions. I’ve never been lost lost, but have had to walk for miles to relocate my truck. The language I spewed along the way was not fit for bird nor beast.
RUNDOWN: Fishing things are only semi winding down. There are still slews upon slews of stripers in the system, extending along the entire NJ shoreline.
I’ll go out on a sturdy limb by assuring we’ll see bass right through December. What’s more, we’ll have a decent keeper count right into Christmas table fare times.
The 67th LBI Surf Fishing Classic is getting a mighty fine final rush of stripers. Twenty bass entries have reached the leaderboard. What rocks most for me is the impressive number of entries that were taken on plugs and jigs.
I’ll unloose an “I told you so”, since I hyped the fact that keepable slot stripers were an ideal match for artificials, though I also know of a couple trophy C&R suds bass – one to surely 45 pounds -- that went ballistic on lure offerings.
The surfline plugging action will be happening for many weeks to come. As much as I’m not a fan of needlefish plugs, I recall when they were the shape of choice in early December. For fun, grab those old needlefish plugs, swap out old trebles for fresh and tie one on – always complimented by a bright teaser. It should be noted there are some modern needlefish that are drop-dead gorgeous, as if you don’t own enough plugs already.
It’s worth re-repeating that this year’s LBI Surf Fishing Classic would have blown the socks off leaderboards going back many a year … had we only been allowed to keep larger fish. I have it on good anecdotal authority that there were likely as many surf stripers over 38 inches as there were those between the demanded 28- and sub-38-inch size. Hopefully, this nonsensical slot will get the boot, or at least some concessions will be made to allow the keeping of trophy fish -- maybe on odd-number days only (not serious).
While elsewhere in Warren Grove, one of the quietest most secluded villages in the state -- or just about anywhere for that matter ...
STAFFORD: On Sunday, November 28th, 2021 at approximately 5:00 PM, the Stafford Township Police Department received a call in reference to suspicious activity occurring on the property of 1236 Grays Road in the Warren Grove section of Stafford Township.
Upon arrival, Officers encountered John B. Sharpe 37 years old, of Galloway Township, New Jersey. At-scene investigation indicated the possibility of the use and/or manufacturing of methamphetamine possibly taking place on the property. This led to the response of the Stafford Township Police Department’s Drug Enforcement Unit, the Ocean County Narcotic’s Strike Force Unit, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Ocean County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit. As a result of the information obtained during the investigation, extra precautions were taken that yielded an additional response from the Hazmat Team out of Berkeley Township, the Warren Grove Fire Department Station 38, Stafford EMS Squad 38, additional arson units and an increased presence of uniformed patrol officers.
Once the scene was deemed secure and not hazardous to the community, a search was conducted by investigating Detectives who recovered numerous types of CDS all belonging to Sharpe who had already been placed under arrest for a warrant out of Galloway Township.
Sharpe was transported to Stafford Police headquarters and charged with the following: 3rd degree Possession of Methamphetamine, 3rd degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, 3rd degree Possession of Heroin, Possession of CDS Paraphernalia including numerous digital scales and plastic baggies, and Possession of numerous hypodermic syringes for the use of CDS. Also recovered were multiple types of unidentified pills, which are pending analysis at a lab that could result in additional charges.
Sharpe was later lodged in the Ocean County Jail and has a future court appearance pending in Ocean County Superior Court.
This investigation began on Sunday evening and led into the early morning hours the following day. As such, the Stafford Township Police Department would like to give a special thanks to all responding agencies and units in their respective field of expertise to come together in a joint effort.
As a reminder, the Stafford Township Police Department does not release photos of arrested subjects, and the public and the press are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Stafford Police stated that this investigation was not related to the missing person’s investigation involving Gary & Lorraine Parker of Warren Grove.
Just for your beachcombing FYI.
These odd-looking,Vulcan warship-ish things that wash ashore with every storm are actually the tenacious seed pods of the highly invasive European water chestnut, an aquatic plant that is high on the “must kill” list of invasive species. It gets into shallow water and chokes out all other indigenous vegetation. When washed into the ocean, they fall into the fairly appealing category of collectible “sea beans.” (Now you can act all smart when the kids find these on the beach.)
More Holgate look-abouts ...
Ho-hum with humanity ... as noted, snowys aren't all that concerned with mankind's meanderings. This gal was astounding ... as her folks yucked it up at the back cut.
The owl? Seemingly not over impressed with much of anything this day.
A young skimmer tests its wings ...
While a fat herring gull gives me the evil eye as if I want its sti...
A west wind blew this saddlebags dragonfly in from over on the the mainland.
Below: One of the weirdest events ever at Holgate tip. A massive sand-slide almost instantly ate away a huge section of the west peninsula, Had a buggy been parked there ... seeya.
Not sure if they're invasive but this brand of fiddler crabs has thoroughly infested the mudflats of Holgate.
Possibly the last buggy to try motoring to the far back mudflats --
Above: This is the meaning of shorebreak ... Below: More sand art by M. Nature.
The old man and the sky?
Below: Yep, he got popped when exiting the Holgate beach.
THE SHELTER ON HAYWOD ROAD IN MANAHAWKIN IS AT PEAK CAPACITY.
If you are thinking of adopting a dog, this is the time to do it. The shelter is full and there are many wonderful dogs that are waiting for a new home.
These are just some of the dogs available. If you would like to adopt, please call the shelter 609-978-0127 to make an appointment to meet the dogs and fill out their application in person.
PLEASE SHARE. LETS HELP SAVE THE LIFE OF THESE PETS.