Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet Petey!

Petey turned 2.5 years old on the 27th! I can't believe he is already on the other side closer to three...time is flying by.

I am missing out on the big Warbler flight, the trees popped because of the heat, and now I will spend tomorrow in the hospital with my hubby. Oh year!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rose-breasted Grossbeak

A pair showed up at the feeder today....always a delight!

N. Water Snake

My first Snake of the year at the County Park Pond. What a pretty snake. Male American Toads were all in the pond Calling. Two Great Blue Herons, one had caught a fish. Also Water-Thrush.

Trout Lilly

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Big Day

Although I never caught the *Big Night* this year, today I had a big day of sorts. I've been keeping a eye on the puddles where dozens of Spotted Salamanders laid their eggs this year. It became apparent over the last couple of days that the puddles were going to end up completely drying up well before the eggs hatched. I decided this morning to head up to the the puddles, with a backpack and several gallon size zip-loc bags. Last weekend I found a spot that I had decided to move the eggs to, so they have a fighting chance at hatching and some day ensuring that there will be more *Big Nights* in my lifetime. Some don't agree with tampering with nature, but in this day and age with so much habitat being decimated and few people who really care to try and help, the creatures of our earth don't have much chance of surviving long enough for my future grandchildren to enjoy seeing them. Reptiles and Amphibians have the least chance of any protection as they aren't cute and cuddly like mammals. I have a soft spot in my heart for all the slimy, scaley creatures that roam this beautiful earth...they are my favorite animals. I gathered a total of about 2 gallons of egg masses from 4 different puddles and carried them to the top of the mountain and put them in an old beaver pond where there are other spotted Salamander eggs. I plan on checking on them for the next few they will hatch pretty quickly now. I will share pictures of the larva when they hatch.

Today during our adventure my Petey enjoyed a nice swim in the old beaver pond, and he had a blast running on the trails during our hike. Notable birds this week: N. Waterthrush, Broadwing Hawks, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, a few Pine Siskins, chipping Sparrows. Black Flies are hatched....lots of warbler food...let the warbling begin! Best part of Spring!

Best sighting of the week, Thursday night the 16th after a wonderful hike up in Cascade Lake on the way out of Cascade Road, there was a 300# bear on the side of the road. We were able to stop the car and watch him slowly meander across a backyard. Gorgeous animal. Seeing one always makes my heart pound, so exciting each time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunday

Yesterday hubby, Petey and myself went for a wonderful 3.5 hour hike up to Cascade Lake Park. It was sunny, windy and only about 45 degrees out. Hubby has been clearing the trails for mountain biking and he took me up to a beautiful swamp that I have never been to before. It was a Beaver home in the not too distant past. There was a dam as well as three lodges. It is a oasis on the top of the mountain. Full of birds and all sorts of other creatures. We hiked all the way up to the AT and could see Greenwood Lake. It was so nice to spend such quality time with my hubby, I really miss hiking with him. We went home a prepared a meal of Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Asparagus and Scalloped Potatoes. Great Easter!

Today I returned to the Swamp because it was another gorgeous day with warmer temperatures and no wind. There were a few species of birds, my first N. Water Thrush of the year. Phoebes, Tree Swallows, lots of Turkey Vultures flying over, Juncos, Chickadees, Robins, W.T. Sparrows, Wood Duck, Mallard. I now have a new spot to go for the BIG NIGHT~the puddles at Cascade Lake have as many Spotted Salamander egg masses as the Vernal Pool up in the Co. Park. Much easier to get to in the pouring rain. I moved a Zip Loc bag full of eggs to a safer body of water. They were getting run over by the ATVs that are illegally riding up in the park. Tomorrow I have plans to move even more egg masses, the puddles are drying up and the egg masses don't stand much of a chance of producing nymphs if I don't move them. I also brought home a few egg masses to hatch and head start. Every year I hatch amphibian eggs, and I never tire of watching them. It gives me a chance to be a kid again.

In the backyard scene we have lots of frisky squirrels, and I noticed some of the females are already nursing. Red Squirrel is here most days. A raccoon has been coming on the window feeder. I still have Juncos, W.T. Sparrows, Pine Siskin, Gold Finch that are almost all yellow, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Downys, Robins, Red Wing Blackbirds, Grackels, Cowbirds, T.T. Mouse, Chickadee, Juncos, Turkeys,

Feeder Birds

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Petey's Pack

Petey 29 months old

Warwick Eagle

A friend of mine from the Mt. Petey Hawk Watch, captured this photo of a Bald Eagle. It was sitting over looking a pond right up town! Nice of him to share it with me.

New Boots

I am my mothers daughter after all. Just like mom, I have a thing for shoes. When I was growing up my mom was forever getting a new pair of shoes. Mom loves to shop and loves getting a bargain even more then shopping. She would find a pair that she wanted, and then wait for them to go on sale. She would check on those shoes every time she went to that store, and wait for the price to hit her magic $5 and then score...she would own them. She had to sneak them in the house so my dad didn't bust her chops. My mom had more shoes then all of our family put together! I am not a shopper and I don't wait for bargains. I also don't get into dress shoes. I know what I like, and I usually buy my dress, party shoes online, and keep them forever. I'm a boot, clog, flip flop kind of women, if it isn't comfortable, I won't wear them. Once I have a few pairs in my closet, I give little thought about shoes until they start looking really worn, then it becomes a chore to replace them. The exception is my love of hiking boots. About every two years I replace my hiking boots. I start looking at reviews and I am forever hopeful to find that perfect pair. They need to fit like a glove, repel water, have good traction and look decent too. I have learned that buying cheap hiking boots isn't worth it for me. They wear out so quickly that there is no savings, you end up buying 2 or more pairs in the same time frame that a good pair lasts. Back in the Fall I replaced my worn out sneakers with a pair of Merrells. They are the most comfortable sneakers I've ever worn. So this year I decided to really treat myself and go for Merrell hiking boots. My feet are in heaven, I may have finally found the brand I will stick with for the rest of my life. Time will tell.

Now Spring has definitely sprung here in lower NY. Sadly I missed the *Big Night* again, I didn't get so see even one Spotted Salamander and the Vernal Pools are full of eggs. I found that they must have come out over several days, because we would have rain, and then a nice day, then rain again. Wood frogs have also laid their eggs, but are still in the pools along with Spring Peepers, all singing their little hearts out. Skunk Cabbage leaves are unfolding. Trout lily plants are all over the ground now, and should flower soon. Trees are full of flowers. Hints of green are filling the woods. On April 1st one of my feeders was taken out by a bear, so I knew they were out of hibernation, last night we confirmed that while out driving to a party we saw our first bear of 09! I never tire of seeing them it is always as exciting to me as the very first one I saw many years ago at Waywayanda Park in NJ. My Pine Siskins continue, still a large flock of about 200. Black bird flocks in the thousands. I've been seeing wood ducks quite often, and actually saw a pair on my street checking out a big ole tree that has potential next cavities. Vultures are everywhere. Lot's of deer in the woods, Petey is doing very well with not chasing after them. It has been a heavenly Spring....just wish it didn't move so quickly so I could savor it more! Get out there and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My first 3 Babies....

After leaving my childhood home for college what I missed most was having a pet. I took my turtle Pee-Wee with me, but I missed my dogs and cat. Although turtles are one of my favorite creatures upon this earth,there is nothing like having a dog or a cat to be there when you come home. For me a house is not a home unless there is a furry creature.

The first animal that I was able to adopt was a cat, his name was Snowbank Frank, but he was shared by several of us in a large college home, and was eventually given to a friend. No dogs were allowed in the first place that I lived, so that is why I *settled* for a cat. My longing for a dog never stopped, Once I moved into a apartment that allowed dogs, my quest became intense. I even looked a beautiful litter of Golden Retrievers, none of them spoke to me, I'm just not a Golden type person. I need more piss and vinegar in a dog! On my 21st birthday I was sitting at the bar in the Idle Hour, with my then BF and asking him why we couldn't get a dog, that's all I wanted for my birthday! I was willing to settle for a Beagle, something small, because the BF had never had a dog, and wasn't too keen on the idea of a Big dog. Well a friend over heard us, and know Tasha the wolf dog at the local head-shop? Well she has a litter of puppies and they may have one of the eight puppies that isn't spoken for! My BF said...well that's a dog I'd be interested in! The next day we went and picked out our puppy, Genghis Khan. The puppies were all named already. We had to wait a month, until after Christmas break for them to be ready to leave their mom. I could hardly sleep that entire month with excitement, one of the best birthday gifts of my entire lifetime, my first dog. Khan joined my life and became an ambassador for the Wolf-dog. He and I were very connected, more then any other dog I've owned, including Petey(so far). That once in a lifetime soul-mate dogs. We went everywhere together. Including many moves over his lifetime, he lived in several states and went on lots of vacations. Those were the days before leashes.

Soon after getting Khan, Tex the half Siamese Cat joined our growing fur-family. He was more like a dog then a cat, and would actually go hiking with me, and follow me to work, and hang out in the bar. A true college cat. He was one of a kind and irreplaceable, he will remain as the only cat I've ever owned. He was that special. He and Khan became the best of friends, playing for hours each day, so much in fact that Tex was short haired during Khan's puppy-hood! The boyfriend and I broke up, and the future hubby came in to our life, he was a true animal lover, and adored Khan. We spent every weekend at his house on the lake, Khan loved having more people to hang out with.

Life was good, and changing, Graduations and then our marriage, I have a picture of me in my wedding dress with Khan. He was with us at the reception. He was with me for two major moves to CO and ME, finally settled again, the longing for another dog started. Bugging my hubby for another dog...I wanted a Doberman. My Aunt Mary had Baron, a Gorgeous big black boy, and my FIL had Brandy a beautiful Red girl. Hubby refused to let me spend money on a dog when there were so many out there that needed homes. I dreamily looked at Doberman adds, and thought someday I will have one. One day we were out driving around looking at property to buy, when we passed a yard with a Black female Doberman and a ton of puppies running around a yard. I poked hubby in the shoulder and said...LOOK DOBERMANS! He ignored me, and continued to talk to the Realtor we were with. My shoulders slunk, feeling sad as we drove home after dropping off the Realtor, hubby drove to the house where the puppies were and asked how much they wanted for a puppy....the owner said FREE-take as many as you want! They were Dobe/Weim mixes. There were eight puppies,six all black, a pure gray one, who hubby wanted, and the owner told we couldn't have as he was staying. So hubby picked up the biggest puppy in the litter, pops him under his arm and says...we will take this one! He was the color of a *Red* Doberman. Hubby named him Bigelow before we even arrived at home. He was a delightful silly GIANT boy! The Big Dummy was his nickname. He had a tail the size of a bull whip and used it to inflict major damage on all men that came to visit. Khan and Bigelow became instant friends. Bigelow followed Khan every where. We settled in to a nice life with our fur family. We all moved back to NY. We continued to spend time with our kids, even buying our first new car for them. A hatchback with windows that rolled down so they could hang their heads out. They went everywhere with us for the first five years of our marriage.

Unfortunately for hubby and I, all three were lost to us with in an eighteen month period. Biggs was the first to go, only six weeks before the birth of my first son. Devastated doesn't even begin to cover my feeling over the loss of him, it truly ruined my last six weeks of pregnancy. Next it was Khan who we lost only six weeks after the birth of our son. A dark cloud was over our lives, and a colicky baby made things even more awful. When our son was seventeen months old, Tex was stolen by a neighbor who moved to Maine with him. I was very pregnant with my second son, and too busy and tired to mourn for too long. But It would be a decade before I could bring myself to let another dog in my heart. I felt like I was the most unlucky animal owner in the world. I didn't know if I'd ever have another pet....but the longing started again...and has never left. Dogs are a gift we give to ourselves, they come with pain of loss, but what they bring to our lives far out weighs that pain. I'm thankful that I continue to welcome them in to my life.

The Vernal Pool in the Co. Park had lots of egg masses this morning. Not sure how I missed the females coming as there hasn't been more rain yet. I will take a night time trip up to the pool if we get rain over the next couple of days. It's tradition. In my yard, the flock of Pine Siskins might be nearing two hundred now. They must communicate, how did they all find out that I'm the bird lady, and my feeders are never empty? I'm still hoping that the Green Siskin will return, just so I can get a picture.

Petey and I start a new OB class tonight I'm really looking forward to getting back to training with my sweet boy.