262 pages, illustrations
Bypassed by time and "Joisey" Shore-bound vacationers, the marshes and forests of the Bayshore constitute one of North America's last great undiscovered wild places. Sixty million people live within a tank of gas of this environmentally rich and diverse place, yet most miss out on the region's amazing spectacles.
Bayshore Summer is a bridge that links the rest of the world to this timeless land. Pete Dunne acts as ambassador and tour guide, following Bayshore residents as they haul crab traps, bale salt hay, stake out deer poachers, and pick tomatoes. He examines and appreciates this fertile land, how we live off it and how all of us connect with it. From the shorebirds that converge by the thousands to gorge themselves on crab eggs to the delicious fresh produce that earned the Garden State its nickname, from the line-dropping expectancy of party boat fishing to the waterman who lives on a first-name basis with the birds around his boat, Bayshore Summer is at once an expansive and intimate portrait of a special place, a secret Eden, and a glimpse into a world as rich as summer and enduring as a whispered promise.
"Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Prairie Spring. Personally, I would have preferred more writing about birds and other creatures and less about fishing. But I also understand that’s not the story Dunne wanted to tell. He’s written plenty about birds, this is about something greater. Interaction with nature can take many forms – birding, fishing, farming, hunting, even poaching. It’s not so much how you do it, but just that you get outside and do it. (Although poaching is probably not the best choice.) And Dunne succeeds in this regard; Bayshore Summer makes you yearn for a greater connection with nature and place, whether that be along Jersey’s bayshore or somewhere else. (And just for the record, I’d still rather read Dunne’s writing on a subject I have no interest in than just about anyone else’s about something I love.)"
- Grant McCreary (14-07-2011), read the full review at The Birder's Library
"Preserved along the shores of Delaware Bay and up the Maurice River in Cumberland County, New Jersey, there are areas of natural wonder unnoticed by most East Coast drivers hurrying to cities and coastal tourist destinations. Tidal waters, salt marshes, and woodlands shelter a variety of wildlife in close proximity to villages out of which family farmers and generations of fishermen practice their trades. According to Dunne, nature writer and director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, southern New Jersey is a time-forgotten area that has been somewhat protected by high humidity, annoying insects, and bad press. Believing that industrial fisheries and real-estate development are about to permanently alter the balance of the previous three hundred years, Dunne spent a summer visiting game wardens, tomato farmers, fishermen, party-boat operators, and the graves of nineteenth-century naturalists to learn more about his beloved county. His witty and persuasive “what I did this summer” natural-history report merits reading."
- Rick Roche, Booklist
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