Saturday, April 2, 2016

Paulinskill Wildlife Management Area, NJ - Hyper Humus Marshes South

Hyper Humus Marshes - NJ Audubon
March 1956 Hyper-Humus Ad

GPS Coordinates 41.05803, -74.72939

Hyper Humus Map


Thanks to Anonymous who commented on my August 2, 2014 hike of the northern section that there is more to explore in the southern part.  I had always meant to go back and do that but had forgotten.  Thank goodness for the reminder because with rain in the morning on Saturday and a wind/snow storm (the snow part never happened but the wind did) incoming on Sunday, my only window of opportunity was Saturday afternoon and this was the perfect place to go.  Easy in/easy out on a rail trail in case we ran late and ended up getting into sunset.  Spring is in the air, everybody is nesting and, wow, did I ever see a lot!  This place never disappoints.
The Sussex Branch Trail right at the small parking lot.
In a short distance, the Sussex Branch Trail continues right but it is to the left that we went exploring first.
This does appear to be the rail trail continuing on.
I was just thinking that somebody had been very busy when ...
... that busy beaver ran in from the right, went up ahead on the trail a short distance, then ran off to the left.
This is apparently what he had been working on off to the right.
Continuing on...
After crossing this bridge, if you turn around you might see ...
... that you have been photographed by a trail cam.  No doubt he has a picture of me taking a picture.
Home of the busy beaver.
A Great Blue Heron flying over.
She's here, just plodding along behind me.
Towards the end of the trail, a little over a mile out, it becomes gravelly, just before...
... ending at Trinity Street in Newton.
Heading back.
I think this might be an oriole nest.
A black-capped chickadee.
Back at where the Sussex Trail went right from the parking area.
The trail gets pretty close to the road for a short distance before...
... veering away into the woods.
Horses and goats to the right.
The marshes start to come into view on the left.
There are some side trails off to the left for better views. said 0% chance of rain after 3 PM.  They were wrong.  Again.
At the bench, turn left into the marshes.
Had to keep the camera inside my rain jacket for the most part.  The rain started coming down pretty hard.
Not a fan of being rained on.
That black rain cloud seemed to stay with us even though skies were blue on either side of it.
Red-winged Blackbird
We came to a bridge that Shawnee cannot cross - not easy on the paws at all.
She did wait patiently while I went to the center of the bridge for some pictures.
Pied-billed Grebe
We had continued left before the bridge along a strip of land.  This would be our turn around point, not that it was too deep to cross, but it didn't look like it really went anywhere, the area was really trashy from fishermen leaving bait containers behind, I was freaking out over broken glass Shawnee could step on and...
... our first customer to belly up to the container of rubbing alcohol that I stick the nasty buggers in instead of throwing them aside just to maybe jump back on us again.  It is either instant death or drunkenness, but whichever, stops them in their tracks.
Red-winged Blackbird
We were coming back up on that bridge where we make a right to backtrack when ...
... a bald eagle flew over heading north.
A little later as we made a left to head farther south into the marshes, a bald eagle flying south.  Hmmmmm....
We continued on.
A nesting swan.
Way, way off to the left, a MASSIVE nest in the tree.  Could it be?
I wasn't sure until I got home and uploaded the picture since it was far, far away and I really had to zoom in but indeed, a NESTING BALD EAGLE!  Those eagles that flew over - it was either mom coming in to relieve dad or dad coming in to relieve mom.
Continuing north.
A Great Blue Heron flying over.
Those aren't birds in this picture, they are gnats, already in full force on April 2.
I had seen a tiny white speck way off to the right that seemed out of place and when I zoomed in, I could clearly see a hawk...
... who took off right after I snapped the picture.
After this bridge we turned left.
Swans everywhere in this area.
This is very shallow and easy to cross but we turned around here...
... after Shawnee went in for a minute ...
... because those swans over there were assembling in a show of force and making all kinds of noises in an effort to escort us the hell out of there.  It worked.
Crossing back over the bridge to retrace back to the Sussex Branch Trail.
Eastern Bluebird
A bluejay (left) and the nest he/she came out of (right).
Back at the Sussex Branch Trail, turning right.
Being watched by one of those horses.
Although this sign says that part of the trail we did at the beginning of the hike continues .5 miles, I think that might be to that bridge because it's another half mile after crossing.
Back at the parking area.


  1. Another stunning hike! Looks like you saw lots of great wildlife too. I loved the single-track trail in these, and the photo from the middle of the bridge was GORGEOUS. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! This really is an incredible place with so much to see and something different every season.

  2. I like the zoomable map you included... Very helpful!

    1. Thanks! I find GPSies to be much more reliable than EveryTrail that I used to use.

  3. What kind of camera do you use? Your pictures are amazing!

    1. Thanks! It is a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.

  4. This looks like a great hike and you got to see a lot of nice wildlife. Shawnee looks great! Thanks for sharing! Joanne

    1. Thanks! This is always a neat place to visit.

  5. Thank you for the pictures - I felt as though I was on the hike with you.