Beaver Brook Trail – South
Yesterday, June 11, Tim Vogel and this writer hiked the southern half of the Beaver Brook Trail in the Rockaway River WMA. This is arguably one of the most grueling trails in Morris County. Starting at the parking lot at Taylor and Berkshire Valley Roads in Jefferson Twp., the hike followed the white-blazed trail along the ridge, all the way to the PSE&G Susquehanna-Roseland Project powerline – a rugged round trip of over four miles.
Worm-eating Warblers are numerous along the trail. Nine evenly spaced singers were tallied. Other warblers encountered were Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white and Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats and abundant Ovenbirds. The ridge was alive with singing Wood Thrushes, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Wood-Pewees, etc.
A highlight of the walk was Mountain Laurel which was in peak bloom, especially along the southern portion of the ridge.
The following photo shows an abandoned nest in a rock formation suitable for a Black Bear dwelling. It seemed like the eggs in the nest, if that’s what they are, were rotted. In any case, it is an impressive structure. Please comment to this post if anyone has an idea to what species built it.
Geography Lesson No. 1
People may not be cognizant of the borders that Morris shares with its neighboring counties. Keep in mind that Morris County, located in the north central section of New Jersey, shares more county borders, seven, than any other county in New Jersey. The bordering counties are Sussex, Passaic, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren.
For those visiting the Trumpeter Swan at Lake Musconetcong, please know where you are. The Musconetcong River is the Morris-Sussex border in this area. Lake Musconetcong is a dammed portion of the river meaning that the shorelines are either in Morris or Sussex depending on where you are situated. If you are in Stanhope or anywhere on the northern shore of the lake, you are in Sussex. Koclas Drive in Netcong, the location where most observers are viewing the Trumpeter Swan, is firmly in Morris, as is the entire south shore of the lake.
Look at the map here: the Musconetcong River feeds the lake from the east (the river’s source is Lake Hopatcong) and exits by the bridge at the west end of the lake on Ledgewood Ave. North of the river is Sussex; south of the river is Morris. Yes, this means that you can have a bi-county experience twitching the Trumpeter, as many birders already have.
Here is a good example as to why scientific binomial nomenclature is preferred in identifying nature’s biota. The following familiar aquatic plant, labeled as Sweet-scented Water Lily in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, may be known elsewhere as American White Water-lily, Fragrant White Water-lily, Fragrant Water-lily, White Water-lily, Sweet-scented White Water-lily and Beaver-root. Those labels may seem poetic but create a variety of unnecessary confusion when Nymphaea odorata says it all.
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