Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring has sprung

If there were a couple of weeks that I could magically slow down time to a slow crawl right now would be that time.  As the earth begins to awaken again after a long snowy Winter, each and every moment contains something precious that it makes me want to get out there and see it all.  I could spend all day outside exporing.  The days are just not long enough. Every Spring I become ten years old all over again.  I heard my first Phoebe while up on a hike in the County Park!  The skunk cabbage are blooming.  There are Spermatophores in one of the Vernal Pools I monitor.  The other two pools are still mostly still covered with ice.  It is in the low 50s today....just glorious out.  Later while walking a client dog that lives out in the valley.....SPRING PEEPERS!!!!  Happy Dance!  Let the Herping begin!

Pseudacris crucifer

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nature Watch Volunteer!

I attended my Nature Watch Volunteer Training Class for the Basha Kill Area Association yesterday.  So incredibly excited to commit myself to volunteer time teaching the public about the Bald Eagle and Osprey nest.  Getting my volunteer time to attain my Master Naturalist has become a very rewarding personal pursuit.  I love being in classroom learning about Nature.  Finally schooling that feeds my soul.  After the program we drove to the boat basin and there where several eagles on the ice.  My heart swelled with joy.  I love love love what I am getting to do with my life now.  Amazing how the whole world  has come back into focus for me. There is life after parenting.  I am so happy. 

The large flocks of Blackbirds visiting my feeders have migrated north.  Most of my White-throated, Am Tree Sparrows and Juncos have all dispersed.  There are flocks of hundreds of Robins in all the fields.  We still have Snowy Owls out in the Black-dirt region.  I will try for them later on today.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Snowy again

Well I finally caught up with the Snowy Owl again last night!  What a amazing creature it is.  My friend Matt took these two photos, he saw 4 just before this one, so there are now a total of 5 out there in the Black Dirt.  I stayed past dark and was rewarded with 4 short-eared owls flying over and around us.  A lone Woodcock also flew over!  Wonderful start to my weekend.

Hundreds of Blackbirds are around.  I went out for ducks this past week and saw Wood, Ring-neck and Gadwall.  The chipmunks are all up.  We still have some snow on the ground, today it's very warm so it should be melting soon.  So hopefully Spring Peepers in a few days!  Lots of Hawks out and about.  Two Owls hit by cars last night.  Both on County Route 1.  They both flew off. 

I signed up for yet another volunteer opportunity.  I will be taking a training class to become a Nature Watch volunteer at the Basha Kill.  I will be teaching the public about Eagles and Osprey.  There are nests up at the Bash, and they supply spotting scopes to show the public the birds.  I'm excited.  Today I took my NAAMP quiz and I passed it!  I now have my driving route and it's GREAT!  It takes me into Harriman State Park!  I will have hubby go with me on my 4 nights of monitoring.

Spring Equinox came in at 1:57pm on the 20th.  My *baby* turned 20 on the same day.  Where has the time gone?  I am for sure heading into a new part of life, and I am really enjoying it.  I love my dog walking/pet sitting work and all the nature volunteer opportunities I have signed up for.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Master Naturalist

To say that I'm excited would be an understatement.  Yesterday I took a class at the Hudson Highland Museum to become a Volunteer for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.  NAAMP.  I will be monitoring a route near home 4 times over the next few months. During each monitoring night you stop at 10 different locations and record the frogs and toads you hear calling in a five minute time frame.  All your data is entered at the NAAMP website and after your 4th night of data collection sent via snail mail to the coordinator of the project to be checked before your data can be used.  I will also be participating in two other online data collecting projects both on Vernal Pools.  One with the Orianne Society and the other with the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program.  I'm happy that I can finally contribute the data I collect somewhere where it can be used.  I am also happy that I will be attaining my Master Naturalist by the end of this Summer!

Friday, March 14, 2014


I have a serious addiction.  No matter what species of wildlife I'm watching, I have a difficult time pulling myself away to do other things.  I could spend all day and night observing animals in the wild.  I would have made a good field wildlife biologist.  Today I'm obsessed with keeping my bins on the flock of Rusty Blackbirds that have visited my bird feeders in my backyard since January 3, 2014.  Today after several days of absence there are 17 eating the corn I have spread on the ground for them and the other blackbirds. There numbers have declined by 85-99% in the last couple of decades and this year there is a study being done to track their migration.  I have been putting my sightings into the data base to help scientist keep tabs on their movement.  Every time I watch one I feel like this could be the last time I ever see one.  I don't take a single sighting for granted.  For more information on Rusty Blackbirds or to participate in the Rusty Blackbird Blitz visit:

This afternoon I'm heading out to find a snowy again.  I know that each time I see one of them, it could be the last time as well.  I hate thinking that way, but with what is happening to our planet, all wildlife are in peril.  I try hard not to focus on the negatives and enjoy each and every gift of a wildlife sighting.  I feel so blessed in this life that I live in an area that I see wildlife constantly.  I don't need to even leave my house.

I forgot to mention, I am all signed up for my Naturalist weekend at the Arnot Forest!  It will take place the first weekend of June.  I will finally have my course work completed for becoming a Master Naturalist!  I still need to do my volunteer hours.  I will be starting that this weekend when I attend a workshop for Project Frogwatch.  I will be going to the Museum of the Hudson Highlands to learn frog calls and be assigned a territory to monitor.   I will be monitoring frogs by their calls in several locations during the Spring and early Summer.  I also found a citizen scientist project that collects data on Spotted Salamanders and Wood Frogs, I will be entering my data on their site as well. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Heard my first Woodcock of the season!  We still have a foot of snow on the ground, but are having rain tonight.  Love this time of year! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We have Blackbirds!

Yes!  They have started to arrive!  Grackle, Red-wing & Cowbirds are at my feeders!  The Rusty's seem to have flown the coop. There are also 4 Fox Sparrow now.   In need to get out and see that snowy owl one more time.

I had a magical experience today.  I was standing outside a store chatting with a friend,  we were just soaking in the glorious sun.  As always I was glancing up at the sky, it was a deep blue with a few fluffy white clouds.  I heard a Red-tailed Hawk call, I looked up at him, and noticed a total of 6 Red-tailed Hawks ketteling together.  Breathtaking.  I truly know WHY I bird, they fill my life with such beauty.

On my birding rounds, I found a Great Horned Owl nest!!!  

Friday, March 7, 2014

I feel good!

I am feeling GREAT!!!!! The best I've felt in 2 years.  I finally got my business up and going, and I love it!  I can not wait to get busy!   I have finally found my calling, something that makes my heart sing!   I can make a difference in this world.  I love love love meeting people and taking care of their dogs.  It is super fun and rewarding.  Why didn't I start this business years ago?  Fear of failure, that's why.  I will not fail because I love what I'm doing. My hubby said I would love this and he was right!

After walking one of my clients, I drove out to the Black Dirt yesterday and again today.  Lots of Rough-legged Hawks.  I went to Skinner Lane for the Snowy Owls and I didn't see them. I did see a skunk each day, and today a mink at Oil City Road!  Lots of Bluebirds and Robins were working the grass that is exposed on the sides of the road everywhere I drove.  We still have a foot of packed snow on the ground.   Later on I got 2 texts that there were  3 Snowys out on Skinners Road!  Oh well tomorrows another day.  While my friends were viewing the 3 Snowy's I was up at Cascade Park immersed in a amazing hike with my pup.  We had the forest to ourselves. It was stunningly quiet, warmer and magical.  The sun was beginning to set. 

On the home front, my flock of Rusty Blackbirds continues.  I've been putting them in Ebird everyday, as they are doing a study on them until April. Today there were 25.  I feel so lucky to have them at my feeders everyday, I will miss them when they migrate.  I hope they remember me next winter.  Weather wise it's been in the teens if not single digits for more then a month now.  Coldest winter ever.  I had my first Red-wing Blackbirds on the 5th.  No huge flocks yet, any day. 

 We have at least 4 deer hanging around in our yard.