Turkey Hunt

It must have been 95 degrees today, and with that swampy New Jersey humidity thing going it was a good day to get into the shade. So Brandy and I took a ride up to the Reservation for a little stroll. Just off the parking lot in Millburn, I heard this “pong” kind of sound, like the sound a rubber ball makes when you bounce it off a concrete wall.

I wached this turkey for a few minutes, and then spotted its mate down in a dry creek bottom about 50 yards away.

And after watching it for a minute or two, all of a sudden five football-sized baby turkeys came rising up out of a low spot, following their mother.

I wandered up on the high ground looking for a space through the underbrush to try and get down to their level. But they were aware of me, and kept pretty well hidden as they moved back up the incline through the underbrush.

I headed back up and walked around back through the parking lot to get behind them. They obliged by continuing through the underbrush back up to the higher ground where I first saw them. Then I was able to climb up behind them and get a few clear shots.

Characteristically, I showed up with the wrong lens. The best focal length I had was 55mm, so these are kind of blurry. What I get for travelling light, the 200mm was back home.

But Brandy and I followed them for a few hundred yards up the hill, and occasionally I got a good shot off of them in the light or silhouetted against a contrasting color.

Even if the only wild turkey you get is on camera, there are things to eat up there. This time of year these wild berries are everywhere.

And the laetiporus sulphureus are already starting to appear. Plus, there’s spring water available all year long.

That and a dozen good restaurants within a quarter mile. This is all a short walk from downtown, and the station for the train to Manhattan. Not exactly roughing it in the wilderness!

We followed the trail up to the dam by Campbell’s Pond, and decided we were quite warm enough.

Here’s the starting point:
[googleMap name=”South Mountain Reservation, Millburn Entrance” width=”500″ height=”400″]Glen Ave. and Lackawanna, Millburn, NJ[/googleMap]

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he's also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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