Spring is a mercurial season at the New Jersey shore. Some days the weather is bright and sunny; the lakes and ocean sparkle as the light hits the water. Other days dense fog rolls in and the air is thick with moisture, quiet and still. One can barely see the wildlife at the lakes and ocean; one always knows they are there though, for the birds are noisy and rambunctious. Every day brings a new experience when exploring nature in spring time. Wreck Pond at the southern edge of Spring Lake seems different each time I visit as the seasons change and spring bursts into full bloom.
Today, Wreck Pond is calm. Not another human being is in sight; serenity reigns. The swans float majestically on the pond. A white egret is wading in the shallow water at the south edge. A brown egret is moving about from spot to spot. It brings glee to my heart to see it. This first strong sign of spring gives me immense pleasure. The white egret’s tall, elegant form and bright white feathers stand in stark contrast to the dark water as sunset approaches. Suddenly New Jersey seems more exotic, full of creatures from other regions.
There is also a group of about 10 small birds, possibly young loons, dive bombing under the water. They have white markings on their body and their head. I’ve never seen these small birds before, but the diving maneuvers mimic that of adult loons I’ve noticed at the pond before.
The swans ignore the other birds; they majestically float upon the still waters. Some days there are but a few swans and other days there are flocks scattered about totaling up to 30 or more. The beauty of the swans adds an air of elegance to the pond. When I see them I wonder if the myth that swans mate for life is true.
Along the lake the weeping willow trees have yellow-green new fronds blowing in the wind. On the grass, plump robin red breast birds are pecking at the grass and a few Canadian geese are scattered about too. On Shore Road daffodils and forsythia are in bloom and a tree has pale pink flowers. The 24 gourd bird houses are strung along the pond, full of birds chirping and trilling. Birds also flit to and fro the three tall bird houses on poles.
For now the pond is still and serene as spring starts to burst into bloom. Soon the crabbers that place crab traps will arrive in groups; the quiet peace of the pond will mostly disappear for the summer months. The pond will then be still only early in the morning and late evening.
New birds arrive everyday on spring migration routes. The calm of the pond gives animals and birds a safe, peaceful home to build their nests and raise their young. The pond has the feel of a nature preserve. Time seems to stand still there. The sunsets are stunning.
It is easy to spot a myriad of birds and other wildlife. Wreck Pond feels like a place where everything stops. It is rare in New Jersey to find a place where one doesn’t hear the noise of traffic or passersby. Life at the pond is calm and peaceful. Tranquility reigns and nature is left to flourish and continue the cycle of life. Here's hoping this pond remains a beautiful nature sanctuary for many decades to come.