Let’s not bury the lead here folks: Little Orphan Eloweezy from the marathon series of Readings, The Golden Nudges, is, unbelievably, currently tearing it up on Long Beach Island as I type this. Born in Manahawkin earlier this year, Eloweezy was fostered by Kathy Clark this spring to the world famous, but infertile, PEFA matriarch Lady Katherine and raised atop the abandoned Atlantic Casino in Atlantic City. And now she is a woman grown and has come home to join us on LBI.
After me writing and you reading the monstrous four part series the Golden Nudges earlier this spring, we are obviously all a little invested in the future of this incredible little lady. News has trickled in throughout the summer about her assumed success. I had been planning a trip back to The Atlantic Casino to try and get a few pictures of her near fledge time. But as soon as she fledged, she went straight to the roof, scratching that idea by making it a mission impossible.
A few weeks later someone in a condo down the road from the Atlantic shared a photo online of an adorable young Peregrine Falcon perched on the balcony. This was most surely Eloweezy but the band was not visible in the photo. Reporting such speculative hearsay was just too undignified for Readings From The Northside and for you, dear Reader.
Then suddenly yesterday I received the most exciting news of the summer when it was reported that Eloweezy and her little green band, BD-31, had been sighted at Little Beach Island just south of Holgate. My heart jumped as Little Beach Island is the very last hop before LBI. And since many of raptors from Peregrine to Snowy Owls, to Merlin and Northern Harriers split time between Little Beach & Holgate, it would only take the right wind shift to bring her here, right to us.
I begged for photos.
Luckily, hero & master photographer Jesse Amesbury from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey was on it. While it’s still a few more weeks before we will be able to get into Holgate for the winter, Jesse was kind enough to get these awesome photos for us while working out there yesterday.
Now I will be counting the days until I can back to Holgate and see her for myself, and spend some quality time annoying her modestly while sharing the beach. Because that’s just how we roll in Jersey.
Let’s hope she sticks around. And keep your eyes peeled for Eloweezy perched around our water towers, or hunting birds along our beaches. Her incredible story is a great reminder that the animals we see around the Island are not just faceless, nameless, random, replaceable creatures. They are unique individuals with rich lives and deep backstories. And in the case of our endangered and threatened species, those stories often involve amazing people who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our summers a little more wild.
If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, read the painfully long, four part Reading, The Golden Nudges.