Maurice River Estuary

Maurice River Estuary, NJ Coastal Heritage Trail (7/21/2012)

This is Hike #43 ("The Maurice River Estuary") in the book Hiking New Jersey: A Guide to 50 of the Garden State's Greatest Hiking Adventures (2009) with the addition of every side trip described in the book. This was the last of four wonderful hikes we did in southern coastal New Jersey the week of July 16 and my own personal favorite. Its remoteness (it took quite a number of twists and turns from Cape May to get here) guaranteed solitude and on this Saturday morning we owned it, being the only two hikers on this beautiful path. The only two hikers. Scanning the photos you can clearly see that there were about a thousand birds that shared the area this morning. Oh! And a mink! Yes, we saw a mink slink quickly and quietly across the path too fast for me to get a photo. And, believe it or not, I almost stepped on another snake! But this one was mostly likely a non-venomous black rat snake. I did get a photo of him slithering away.

I think I had more fun taking photos on this hike than any so far this year, getting closer to more egrets and ibises than I ever imagined. The macro shot of the patient cicada at the end was an extra bonus! That loud boy gave himself away with his deafening chirp. I found him easily, even though he hushed as soon as I approached.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

First boardwalk

Line covered with swallows

Egrets and Ibises of all sizes!

Mom and four kids awaits

View to Basket Flat


They're all facing east!

Osprey sign

The ibises take off

The gulls are braver

A Tern cracks!

And pandemonium ensues!

A birdless viewing platform

View back to car

Osprey in nest

A hunting egret

[Photo by Laura]


Sandpiper nearly camouflaged

Looking at a nest

That sign has seen better days

Laura on the path of ground shells

Two curious egrets

The rest aren't so curious

Following the hike in the book

The mink was on this stretch

View to second boardwalk

Gorgeous wildflowers

Beautiful shell


Looking for shells

Beaver lodge with horseshoe crab shells

New-fangled birdhouses

Old-fangled birdhouse

Cedar berries

Second boardwalk

There they go!

The last holds-out

And there they go!

Informative sign

At end of second boardwalk

Serious bird poop

Laughing Gull wasn't laughing

Beautiful sky


Moth having lunch

Soaring Cormorant


Sailboat in ...

... Maurice River

Two cormorants keeping watch

Boat in river

Three cormorants watching motoboat

Viewing platform

Family fishing

On observation platform

View north

Osprey nest

View west


Now it's four cormorants!

Gulls hanging out ...

... at disposal facility


Wild rosemary




Big cicada!

Egret in flight

Wildflower on ground shell path

Raspberries blooming


Black rat snake

Back to the car

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh