Sunday, February 18, 2018

Winter Olympics

Every four years, the Olympics come along at the right time of year, as there is nothing to look at on TV in the evening or those winter days that keep you inside. Has anyone else notice that NBC is really fudging up the coverage? It seems to me they have been showing about ten minutes of an event and then showing an equal amount of commercials. And the same commercials over and over again. They also have seemed to abandoned the coverage of the Olympic village and the local customs that were interesting in years past. They also are jumping around different events in trying to cover everything, while actually missing the best live action only to show taped video. The only thing they did get right was devote CNBC to cover curling, a very popular and interesting game. It is the only sport were the participants would look comfortable with a beer in their hand.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Cabin Fever

Today, it's twelve degrees and you can't even go outside. When the temperatures do rise above the freezing mark, it actually feels pleasant. Thursday was such a day and we headed to the beach. The drive out to Barnegat Light was cool as beach towns are lonely places in winter. The inlet is popular as it hosts many different type of sea ducks that migrate from the far north. Common Eider, Oldsquaw, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, White Wing Scoter, Loons, and different alcids and gulls can be found. One of the most popular attractions are the Harlequin ducks. These brightly patterned, tough little birds migrate from Greenland and Iceland to spend the winter diving between the rocks for food. We walked out past the light house and the swells were splashing on the walk way and making ice on the jetty. A seal was swimming in the inlet and about half way out a pair of Harlequins were diving between the rocks, right at our feet. We were so close that I could have scooped them with a fluke net! We got some cool pictures and added another bird to the list. After walking out to the end, we explored the beach and headed back towards home. We drove out to the Manahawkin wildlife management area to see what we could find. Overlooking the vast marsh, it would appear barren to the casual observer, but in among the creeks and spillways, were swans, black duck and Great Blue herons. A few Northern Harriers hunted over the reeds as did two bald eagles, but we did not find the short-eared owls we were hoping to see. Lots more exploring to do when the weather allows.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Quiet Winter Days

This winter hit hard early, and the fishing suffered for it. Snow and melting ice drop the water temperature to the point were nothing bites. Most boats have shut down, as bottom fishing can be frustrating, to say the least. Mackerel fishing was the best game in town, but huge draggers are working the schools far from shore. These boats are freezer trawlers and can hold as much as 350 tons of fish! Our government seems to think this is fine, but it is the reason we no longer see the spring mackerel fishing. Tremendous schools of big spawning mackerel would pass the coast every year in April and would support the party boat fleet as thousands of anglers would turn out to fill burlap sacks. These fish would be as close as a half mile off the beach and boats full of anglers made as many as three trips a day to start the season. Now there are only two party boats between NY and NJ even trying, and they have to have nice weather to get 20 to 30 miles offshore. Another example of failed fishery management. Oh well, at least NOAA protected the dogfish for us.