We’ve had some beautiful warm weather here in New Jersey the past couple of days.Dave and I decided to take advantage of the warmth by going to Palmyra Cove Nature Park on Sunday evening.
Palmyra Cove Nature Park is 250-acres and there are a ton of trails to explore. We can easily spend hours there, but since we were competing with the sunset we decided to check out the meadow and the beaver pond.
There were a lot of Tree Swallows gliding over the meadow. Tree Swallows can migrate south as early as July and August. The East Coast population migrates to Florida, Central America, and Cuba. I was surprised to still see so many Tree Swallows around at this point, but I guess since it’s still so warm they are continuing to feed before they leave. Towards the end of the meadow is a small pond. We saw a Lesser Yellowlegs, Great Blue Heron, some sandpipers, and Eastern Phoebes.
The next destination was the Beaver Pond. You have to pass through the forest to get to the beaver pond from the meadow. Along the way we saw Carolina Chickadees, different woodpeckers, American Robins, Carolina Wrens, some deer, and 2 Wild Turkeys. I’m always delighted to see the Turkeys at Palmyra. I know that there are a decent amount that live there, and we usually see a few at a time.
There are a lot of little trails interspersed throughout the forest. It’s easy to “trail hop” from one to another without realizing it. We know the paths pretty well, but weren’t paying attention and took a “wrong” turn (there’s not technically a “wrong way”, we just missed the trail we wanted). We should have already been at the pond, but decided to continue and explore this new path.
And I’m glad we did. Because suddenly a group of Turkeys jumped out onto the trail in front of us. It started with about 5 or 6, but as we watched more and more ran from the bushes. By the time the whole flock ran past there were about 24 of them! They were apparently headed in the same direction as us, so we trailed behind at a distance.
What an experience! Just Dave and I and 24 Turkeys strolling along on a warm Sunday evening. I’ve never been that close to that many Wild Turkeys before. In the past we’ve watched a large group of Turkeys in a field doing mating displays (you can watch a video of it at that link), but it’s quite different being so close. They eventually caught on that we were following them, so a few started to trot and the other followed. The group ended up going back into the bushes to forage. It made me happy knowing that pretty soon all 24 of them were going to climb up into the trees to roost. You wouldn’t expect to see a bird that big sitting in a tree, but they do roost in trees at night. I unexpectedly discoveed that last year; it was quite amusing to me (you can read the story here).
At the Beaver Pond we saw Double-crested Coromrants, a female Belted Kingfisher, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. From across the pond we could heard Red-winged Blackbirds and our first White-throated Sparrows of the season.
We always have a wonderful experience at Palmyra Cove, and Sunday was no exception. How can you beat spending some time trotting around with Wild Turkeys? 🙂
Have you ever experienced a large flock of Turkeys? Tell us your Turkey stories in the comments.