Saturday, April 22, 2017

Troy Meadows Natural Area - The Green Mile

Troy Meadows - Wildlife Preserves

GPS Coordinates 40.84915, -74.35483
Parking along the entrance drive which is accessed from the service road running parallel to I-280.

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HIKE DISTANCE:  4.3 miles

Shawnee did not hike today because she needs to rest up for an upcoming hiking road trip.  So my son and I went to explore Troy Meadows in a section where it would not be a good idea to take dogs at all - not that anything says they are not allowed but you'll see why.
The trail starts on the road which continues into the forest.
Nearing the power cut.
Our destination - the boardwalk through the power cut.
Problem is you have to cross the marsh on boards and there were some missing.
My son going out to...
... link up the crossing while ...
... I find a balloon while looking for branches to use. (#28 for the year)
It was like a Great Blue Heron super highway all morning.
Connection complete and crossing over.  Very, very carefully.
At the boardwalk ...
... a ladder to climb.
And here we are, on the Green Mile, a boardwalk constructed by PSE&G when the new monopole transmission towers were installed.  As you can see, the surface would not be good for dog paws.
It replaced the old wooden boardwalk which still runs parallel on the right but is so narrow there is no way I would have walked that had it been in walkable shape.  The green mile was hard enough.  It is higher than it looks in the pictures and if you are afraid of heights like I am, you get all wobbly in the knees. 
Me all wobbly in the knees in the rain - photo by Bryan.
Male red-winged blackbirds everywhere.
Way across the marshes to the right, a nest with a bird sitting to the left of it but too far away to make out what it is.
That nest is on the left with more on the right.  Might be a Great Blue Heron rookery.
Downy Woodpecker
Greater Yellowlegs
Eastern Bluebird
Troy Brook
Black-capped Chickadee - photo by Bryan
Swamp Sparrow - photo by Bryan
Eastern Phoebe - photo by Bryan
The Green Mile ends.  We went down that board and found it was not that swampy so we explored a bit.
Another balloon, #29 for the year.
Above Bryan's head, an eagle nest.
Heading back to the Green Mile.
Looking back, the boardwalk continues on the other side of Whippany River but it looks completely overgrown with phragmites,
Heading back.
Swamp Sparrow
At the ladder where we had come up.  Bryan had left the boot covers hanging to dry out so we grabbed those and continued on with the intention of returning to the car via the service road.
Looking back at the boards over the swamp to the woods road where we had started.
American Kestrel
Great Blue Heron upper left with huge nest lower right - photo by Bryan.
American Robin
Canada Geese
Tree Swallows
Two tree swallows and a red-winged blackbird - photo by Bryan.
Muskrat Houses
Towards the end, the boardwalk becomes overgrown but nothing with thorns so it's still easy enough to get through right now. 
Becoming very overgrown - photo by Bryan
Almost at the end.
Female Red-winged Blackbird
Uh oh.  How to get out?
I managed to slide through the opening.  One extra pound and that would not have happened.  Bryan didn't fit.
He did fit under the gate.
Looking back at the Green Mile.
Continuing on the service road.
A raccoon was here.
Looking back over the marsh and the monopoles.
Service Road along I-280.
Downy Woodpecker
Great Blue Heron in flight - photo by Bryan
Mourning Doves - photo by Bryan
After the gate the service road becomes paved.
Conflicting signs.
Coming up on ...
... the drive to the parking area.
Balloon Cleanup - Done!