Last Sunday, the 2nd, was the day of the Somerset CBC (Christmas Bird Count). My team’s territory runs from Blackwell’s Mills up through Hillsborough and to Manville. We’ve been doing this territory for 15 years (although I have missed a number of years), and a lot has changed in that time. Apparently there is always room for a new housing development, even in a recession with a weak real estate market.
We start our Somerset CBC day at Blackwell’s Mills on the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The original canal buildings are still there, including this little building along the canal, which was a toll booth in its time. If you search for “Blackwell’s Mills” on Flickr, you’ll find some photos of it in the summer, when it is almost overgrown from its neighboring garden.
The other end of the causeway from Blackwell’s Mills proper is still farmland; there’s even one barn with the classic Dutch roof line. On Sunday, everything was misty with the fog rising from the snowbanks left over from the big post-Christmas snowstorm. I was sorry I couldn’t stay at Blackwell’s Mills and keep photographing, but there were birds to count.
Beck didn’t give a lot of time to Blackwell’s Mills when he wrote about it in The Jersey Midlands (in “Locked with the Past: Further Along the Old D. & R.”) but he did include it in a list of towns along the canal, and quoted Gordon’s Gazetteer of the State of New Jersey (one of Beck’s favorite sources for quotes) about it.