Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rusty Crayfish

If you take the time to get out there.....nature never disappoints. What appears to be a dull drizzly day can come alive with so much beauty your heart will skip beats.  Today was in the low 70s and humid, we had a lot of rain last night and it continued to lightly sprinkle all day long. I decided to take Monty up to the Park for a quick walk around and a swim.  I was rewarded big time! The first thing I came upon was a baby snapping turtle crossing the road. He was beyond adorable. I'm glad I saw him because immediately 2 cars came and he would have been hit. Next up were two very large N. Watersnakes and a Rusty Crayfish. I'd only seen a dead red crayfish, just last week, and thought it was just some freak of nature. I had no idea that they were a invasive species until I looked them up.  They are easily 4 times the size of our native crayfish and bright red. Fisherman use the little ones as bait and also science companies sell them to schools to keep as class pets to observe, people end up dumping them in lakes and rivers.  This guy was hanging out on top of one of the watersnakes on land, and the snake didn't seem to care at all! Such a crazy sighting. He could see me from really far away and started to react right away, threatening me with his claws.  Next as I was picking myself a nice handful of Blackberries my eyes suddenly came upon a very large Black and Yellow Garden Spider, and another, and another, 5 total all very close together.  Just stunning nestled in with the beautiful flowers and milkweed.  

Tonight I stepped outside to catch sight of the last of the fireflies, and only one bat. I started thinking about the's time to see Nighthawks migrating.  I must force myself outside as often as possible.  Migration is in full force.  Life is good.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Do what you love.......

Love what you do. I've spent the better part of today out birding.  I went to 3 different locations in Sterling Forest, 2 of them Beaver Ponds.  I love the ecosystem of a beaver pond, so many chances to see wildlife.   It is so nice to be out and about and not sitting inside staring at my computer.  I feel well enough and I've got to keep getting up and out!  Rainy days are for chores and errands.  Now I'm home and birding in my own backyard.  I'm watching a male cardinal feed his two daughters, they are such good parents.  He even gave one of them a mouthful of peanut butter! Our house Wren is just about ready to fledge her third brood of the Summer. She has been one busy mom.  We have so many butterflies!  All different species too.  Monarchs, Cabbage White, Tiger Swallowtail, Spice Bush Swallowtail, Great Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Black Swallowtail, Red Admiral, and lots of Hummingbird moths!  What an amazing Summer this has been for Butterflies.

 Later on we ate dinner outside and watched our two baby wrens fledge. I've never seen that before. It was really neat to watch them take their first leap out of the house and fly. One flew well and made it into the ferns and the other ended up on the ground. His mother flew to our pine trees and called him and he hopped and flew to the trees.  I could hear them calling her. A few bats were out too. Nice end to an entire day spent outside. 

Turtle Point Road

Spent a couple hours birding and nature watching at Turtle Point Road.  Such a peaceful slice of heaven.  When you take the time to really look around there is so much to see.  Nature is life's healing balm. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Slimy Salamander

Monty and I had a nice hike, it always makes me feel so alive to be out in nature. It had rained a lot last night. I love the scent of a wet forest. There's a piece of cardboard in a spot I often go to. I've only found land snails under it in the past. Well today there were 3 Salamanders under it, as well as 2 land snails. I got a new Life Amphibian, Northern Slimy Salamander. There were two of them, and 1 Red-backed.  Happy heart for sure!  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cats! They have hatched!

Tiny Monarch Caterpillars on the milkweed leaves at home.  Such beautiful little creatures.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It really is about the small things

Several weeks ago when our yard was being weeded I insisted that the 4 milkweed plants that had come up in my herb garden be left.  They ended up falling over once all the tall weeds were pulled, so I staked them.   A week ago I found one very tiny Monarch Caterpillar eating a leaf and yesterday watched a Monarch laying 3 eggs, each on a different leaf.  As I always say, do what you can in your own part of the world, it all adds up and helps for the greater good. 

Today is gorgeous. Mid 70s with a NNW 9mph wind, no humidity.  I've spent the greater part of my day on the outside couch.  There are birds everywhere.  Small flocks of Blackbirds gathering, lots of my little feeder birds, hummingbirds and a couple of cool extras, Ravens flying over, a Kingbird and just now a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  If you take a few moments to watch each bird, even the common ones you have seen a million times over, you will realize how life can really become a Marjolein Bastin greeting card.  She sees all the beauty in each small moment and then draws and paints what she sees.  Her art is amazing.  Seeing the world the way she does is available to all of us. Take the time to really look at a bird, a flower, a tree, anything in nature, you will soon reap the gifts available to you all day long. Life is a gift, a miracle, don't take it for granted. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

All so beautiful

So wonderful to be outside again!  I feel whole again. Seeing my first of the year Black bear was amazing. Finding a large gravid female watersnake made my heart sing. Grateful to see another Summer. I'm a lucky women.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Thunder Storm

Sitting in my chair watching an amazing storm.  Lots of thunder and lightening. I love a good storm. The Summer Hummingbird wars have begun!  Constant action at the feeders as the crazy immature birds all learn to be territorial. It's great fun to watch them. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

I want to be a kid again......

I finally got out today.  The weather has been simply glorious. This has got to be one of the nicest Summers in many decades. My physical state has been refusing to cooperate and it's making it hard for me to get out most days.  Treatment is a beast sometimes. I am grateful for my upswing times. While I was out, as always I felt so overjoyed and alive.  I always forget how depressed I end up when I don't make the time and effort to fill my soul with nature. Monty has also been having issues because he misses our hikes too. He's been obsessively licking his paws, and now has lick sores.  It's time that I make sure I get him out, even for a few moments.  As I walked along, I was thinking that I still can't believe how much space in my head cancer takes up.  I'm really, really tired of it. It has become my life, even though I don't want to spend what time I have left dwelling on this awful disease.  I decided that I must step back in time. I have to become a kid again, and live just like I'm on Summer break.  Worrying about the whens and hows is hurting my soul. I am making a commitment to myself, that starting tomorrow when I wake up, I will interrupt the constant voices in my head and tell myself something else.  Wish I could hear what went on in my 10 year old brain, I'm sure it was so full of wonder and excitement, every day was an adventure.  I want that for myself again.  Good to have goals!  LOL 

Dogs are simply the BEST!
Hot feet....take your shoes off walk in the water!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Home sweet home

I'm the luckiest women alive to live surrounded by so much nature and such beauty that it brings tears to my eyes.  I've never taken even an instant of it for granted, I'm still pinching myself 28 years later, do I really live here?  Blessed beyond belief.

Gorgeous Wickham Lake
The girls soaking their feet in a stream on a hot day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

36 Precious hours........

I have discovered that my dreams do come true.   For many years now, an annual whale watching trip that leaves out of Montauk Point, has been on my bucket list. For one reason or another I have been unable to go. This past weekend, I finally made it aboard the ship and we went 30 miles off the coast of Long Island to the Great South Channel.  The GSC is full of bait fish, we saw well over 100 Humpback Whales, Common Dolphins and hundreds of Pelagic birds. We slept on bunks in the belly of the ship, surrounded by strangers who became friends as we shared an amazing 36 hours with them. This trip made me feel more alive then anything I've done in a very long time. Seeing incredible beings like whales and Dolphins makes me realize that we are not the only ones on this earth who are intelligent.  A mother/calf pair spent nearly 90 minutes watching us. They spy hopped and went under the ship so we would follow them from the starboard to the port, over and over again, they had us perfectly trained.  It was simply my favorite wildlife encounter ever. They sought us out, and wanted to spend time with humans. They weren't chased or harassed. I guess they knew that the ship was full of conservationists and like minded people who really love and cherish wildlife. Maybe they could feel the love and awe from all of us?  We all got selfies with the pair, no words how cool that was.  Life continues to awe and inspire me. Each day precious.  Time to plan another adventure!