Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cattus Island County Park, NJ

Cattus Island County Park - Ocean County Parks

GPS Coordinates 39.981731, -74.128724
1/3 of the parking lot

Cattus Island Trail Map - Ocean County Parks
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HIKE DISTANCE:  7.8 miles

I have hiked here many times, most recently with Shawnee on January 1, 2014, but always in the fall or winter.  Because a picture of Shawnee at an Ocean County park had won second place in a photo contest, I needed to pick up the prize at Cattus Island County Park so it was a great excuse for a spring hike.
From the parking lot, heading towards the Cooper Environmental Center ...
... but turning right on the boardwalk which was closed from storm damage the last time I was here.
Seems like every osprey nest has a plastic bag as part of the decor.  
The boardwalk ends at the playground which is at the far end of the parking lot but veer left ...
... to the red trail.
Leaving red for the yellow loop.
The trail beyond the bird blind was closed for boardwalk repair so we backtracked a bit ...
... took the paved park road to an unmarked trail running parallel to yellow and met back up with yellow beyond where repairs were taking place.
People replacing the boardwalk over on yellow.
Back on yellow, some short side trails to views of Silver Bay.
Totally freaked out by those gigantic waves crashing in.
A short bushwhack over to retrieve balloon #40 of the year.
I had also picked up some litter along the way so I sorted that at the recycling and garbage cans at the park road.
Finsihing the yellow loop and continuing on red to Mosquito Cove.
Mourning Dove
A cardinal and an eastern towhee singing back and forth for at least as long as I could hear them.
Then a different eastern towhee and a gray catbird hanging out together.
When red ends at the Cooper Environmental Center, left to the gravel road.
Again, the plastic bag decor in the nest.
Leaving the gravel road on blue.
Black-capped Chickadee
Gray Catbird
Silver Bay
And yes, another nest with a plastic bag.  The on-duty parent on the nest ...
... the off-duty parent on a perch nearby.
To stay on trails for the longer loop, keep straight on blue/white when blue turns right.
Back at the gravel road, left.
We'll be picking  up blue/white on the other side at the doggie trash can on our way back.
Not only does this osprey nest have the plastic bag ....
... it has a fishing line spool?  What were they thinking when they decorated this nest?
At the end of the gravel road, we continued out to the end.
It's as far as you can go.
After heading back, we turned left on orange before the gravel road.  Orange had also been closed from storm damage the last time I was here.
Osprey in flight.
Tree Swallow
Either way on orange.
Red-winged Blackbird
A gray catbired with some sort of prize he had found and hauled up into the tree.  Looks like a Kleenex or some sort of paper.
Off-duty and on-duty osprey couple.
Having finished orange, left on the gravel road to ...
continue left on blue/white at the doggie trash can.
This one is banded but the picture is not near clear enough to make out any numbers.
A large nest in a tree.  Couldn't see if it was occupied.
Back on the busy gravel road to ...
... the Cooper Environmental Center ...
... to claim our prize!
Brodie accepts the second place award on behalf of Shawnee.  We'll show Al the poodle when he comes to stay with us again.
All of the cool stuff we won.  The "Best Dog Ever" frame will get a picture of Shawnee.  Sorry, Brodie, but that will always be Shawnee's title.
This is the picutre from our hike at Shenandoah Lake County Park that won second place in the Pets in Our Ocean County Parks contest.  Thanks Ocean County Parks for all of the cool stuff!


  1. This park is going on my to-do list! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Most definitely worth doing. There is so much variety and so much to see it is never boring. The gravel road tends to get crowded since that is where the majority of people go but you hardly run into anyone on the trails.

    2. Dom -- excellent choice!! I've been to this park almost every season (most recently on 1/27/18), and believe me -- it _will NOT_ disappoint! (Even if you cannot see ALL the trails in a single visit, you will enjoy any trail you _can_ get to!) An everything Daniela said is true -- never boring! :)

  2. You got some beautiful shots of birds and the ospreys. I've been to this park. However, when I went unfortunately it was a hot humid day and the biting flies were out. That is so nice that you got that prize for the picture of Shawnee with her walker. That made me smile! Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

    1. Thanks. Joanne! Cattus Island was still blissfully bug-free yesterday! But you mentioning biting flies reminded me to put the Bug Soother spray in my backpack for Brodie. It used to keep biting flies off of Shawnee like nothing else. Seeing has how much Brodie HATES to be sprayed with water, spraying his head with Bug Soother should be interesting.

  3. This looks like a great spring hike i.e. one of a decent length with few or no hills. (Long winter...) But I'm always leery of hikes that have big parking lots and or are located too near civilization. Would you consider this a quiet hike?

    Noise in the woods is a pet peeve of mine and, no doubt, many other hikers. During the warm months, we can generally hear road noise at some of the deepest reaches of Harriman Park, which has flat, well maintained roads adored by motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts. We love the more remote trails in the Catskills, where it's still possible to hear nothing but the breeze in the trees on a summer day.

    1. No hills at all. It's all flat. I have hiked there when there have been events where the parking lot is packed but have hardly run into anyone on the trails. The environmental center and the gravel road will be busy almost always but it is peaceful out on the trails. I remember a little bit of traffic and lawn equipment noise on red where it gets close to residences and some motor boats when close to the Barnegat Bay side but for the most part, very quiet and pleasant.

  4. Daniela -- excellent choice...I'm sure Brodie enjoyed his first hike here as well! Congrats to Shawnee and Al -- don't remember them winning an award for their hikes, but they are certainly _all deserving_ of it!! ;-)

    As always, great shots of the birds; I enjoyed every one of them! (I may have mentioned before...I'm partial to Red-Winged Blackbirds, but hey -- bring on ALL the birds!)

    As I stated in another response (to Dom), I was at Cattus Island back in late January, and didn't realize there was going to be work on the Yellow (aka "Yellowbank") Trail -- when I was there, all sections of the trail were open, but many parts were on the verge of being muddy (though totally passable). I can't wait until they improve this beautiful trail even more! (My favorite section is, of course, by Silver Bay...I think they slightly rerouted this one near the "cliff" by the bay [i.e. where you can see the Blue ("Island Loop") Trail in the distance.]

    Keep up the great work; I cannot wait until your next adventure in Central/South Jersey! ;-)

    1. Thanks! I remember hiking the yellow trail years ago and a lot of it being under water after a rain. Definitely lots of trail improvements since them. Now there were very few wet spots overall that were easily passable and this was after rain overnight.

  5. Congratulations on your photo prize. You always take great photos and the winner was certainly especially prize worthy.

  6. Great photo! I like hiking near the ocean, but don't like hiking with lots of other people around....

    1. Same here! That is why I always go insanely early when nobody else is around.