Terry Anderson's KLOG

June 11, 2006 1:30-4:30 PM
South River off Raritan River (near New Brunswick)
Launch site: Raritan River, Martins Creen (boat ramp at end of Meadow Rd. Edison Township)
Google Earth Placmark *
Low tide about 3:03 PM

I put in at the same launch site as May 7, 2006, a small Edision Township park with a boat ramp, next to a creek variously named Mill Brook and Martins Creek.  This time I went downstream through Rocky Reach to South River, the first navigable tributary on the right bank (south side of Raritan River).  The mouth is right beside green navigation marker 39.  There was a nest at the top of the navigation marker that was occupied.  When I first passed it I could only see a white or grey head, but I suspect it is an osprey nest.  On my return later, I saw a pair of Osprey flying near it.  Before reaching the navigation marker I saw a Cormorant in the Raritan which flew away.

I went up the South River nearly 2 miles until it got too shallow to paddle.  Google Earth and maps show that it connects to Washington Canal and then continues up stream, but it appears that the canal takes most of the water flow for the river and so it becomes very shallow at low tide before the connection.  I had hoped to make a circuit by going to the canal and using it to return to the Raritan but could not get through the shallows.  I will have to try it again nearer high tide.  About halfway up South River disturbed a pair of Egrets standing on mud flats on the right.  One flew away but the other just moved a little and passed only about 30 feet away just as it caught a crab in the water and brought it up the beach setting it down briefly before flying away with it.  Near where I ran out of water depth I startled a large Great Blue Heron standing in the water in one of the side tributaries (too small to paddle at low tide).

The River follows near the east side of what appears to be a very large landfill.  Over the river, or more likely over the landfill, I watched a group of ten raptors slowly circling.  Most were too high to identify but were presumably the same type that I saw on May 7 and the few I saw lower appeared to be the same as those I saw flying near navigation marker 39.  They may all be ospreys or some hawk.

After I had to turn around, I returned to the Raritan and continued down stream another mile to navigation marker 37 (the start of Long Reach).  I had hoped to get to the mouth of the Washingon Canal to evaluate its interest for another day, but turned around at that point since there was a strong northwest wind and I wasn't sure how slow it would be paddling upstream against it and my time was running out.  Turned out to not be as bad as I feared and so I explored a tributary on the upstream-right bank (north) that was about half way between navigation marker 39 and 37 (there is no 38) about 1/2 mile downstream from the mouth of South River.  There are a couple of very shallow creeks near the area but this is very straight and deeper so probably a canal.  It goes about 1/3 miles directly to an industrial building but I did not get close enough to identify the building.  Just before it got that far it turned too shallow (it was still near low tide).  Since the tide was low the banks were about 3 feet high mud before the bottom of the reeds.  The mud banks were covered with hundred of crabs (about 1-1/2-2" shells) which scurried up and into holes in the bank. 

* If you have Google Earth installed, you can double-click on the attached Placemark file and it will fly you to a location. If not, you will need to install Google Earth first (available at http://earth.google.com).