Thursday, January 30, 2014

Music to my ears

As I was getting ready for bed,  every so often I could hear something going on outside.  I couldn't quite make out what it was, so I opened the window and listened.  There were two packs of coyotes yapping and howling back and forth.  One was across from my home out in the corn fields and the others were across the road.  My wildlife cam is up in the backyard, how cool would it be to capture their images?  I can only hope.  It amazes me how many people hate coyotes, I can't fathom why so many do.  They remind  us of our beloved dogs. They are much needed predators in our forests, they help to fill the void left by the eradicated cougars and wolves. 

Rusy-blackbirds continue at the feeders.  I'm gladly going though about 25 pounds of cracked corn each week.  It's a small price to pay to have so many beautiful birds outside my windows. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It has been bitterly cold.  Most mornings the temperatures have been in the single didgets.  I feel badly for all the wild birds, they spend most of their time sitting on one foot then the other. The flock of Rusty Blackbirds is still coming to feed on the cracked corn multiple times each day.  They now number up to 25 birds.  Today a nice size flock of Robins was feeding on the remaining crab-apples on the tree in the backyard.  Both trees in the front yard were cleaned off many weeks ago.  They are both a much smaller variety of crab-apple fruit.   I bought some cheap apples for the robins, and also put out some raisins.  A huge flock of Starlings came though leaving very little food for anyone else.  They even went on our front porch and ate the Cedar Berries off of my Solstice Wreath, guess I can take it down now.  They made a huge mess with droppings and all the greens.  I still love them.  One of my first rehabs when I was a child was a Starling.  I raised him from a tiny featherless bird.  He was highly intelligent and I became very attached to him.  I knew he should be wild and free and started to take him outside and let him fly, he would always come back to me.  One day a large flock of Starlings were at the next door neighbors, he flew off with them.  I stood on a box calling him to come back, and fell, breaking 3 fingers on my right hand.  I only saw him one other time several days later, and he was still with him new family. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow storm Janus

Took a hike with Monty as the storm started. It was 16 degrees out. A  large flock of Robins was at he beginning of the trail in the Park. We had a great time, all alone, so peaceful to be out there when it's snowing.   On the home front more then a dozen cardinals are at the feeders, all other expected species are in great numbers, I set up more feeders and put food down under cover for the ground feeding birds.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Snowy Owl

What a great weekend of birding!  We headed out to the Black Dirt region three nights in a row and were handsomely rewarded with amazing winter birds.  The first night we weren't able to find the reported snowy owl, but we had fantastic views of both phases of Rough-legged Hawks, males, females and Immature Harriers and several large flocks of  Horned Larks.  We went over to the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge at dusk and counted a total of 9 Short-eared owls and several more N. Harriers, including 2 Grey Ghosts.   The second night we had 4 friends with us and spotted the Snowy Owl immediately, he was in the first field where we drove in.  Our friends enjoyed the sighting and then left. Hubby and I stayed and watched the glorious sunset.  The bird flew towards the road we had to leave on and we were able to see him up close.  Amazingly beautiful.  Tonight we took my hubby's aunt and she got a great look at the bird for a long period of time.  We then took her to Oil City Road and she saw at least a dozen Short-eared Owls and multiple Harriers.  While we watched the owl flocks of thousands of  Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, and most likely Rusty blackbirds flew over us, heading N to  roost for the night. This is considered to be very early for that many to be seen.  We  expect large flocks of Icterids  at the end of February. 

I returned the gift hubby gave me for my birthday and Xmas and got a refund.  I had no idea what I was going to get as a replacement gift as there is nothing I need or want right now. This morning CRESLI posted on FB a great pelagic trip leaving out of Montauk Point traveling to  Hydrographer Canyon.  It leaves on a Friday night and returns on Sunday.  Guess what I got as my gift?  The trip!  I am so excited right now I can't stand it!   The target species is the Sperm Whale! 
• Cetaceans: Humpback, Fin, Minke, Right; Sei, and Pilot whales; Common, Bottlenose, Atlantic White Sided and Risso’s Dolphins; Leatherback, Green and Loggerhead Turtles; Basking, Great White, and Blue Sharks; and other marine life.
• Birds: Cory’s, Greater, Sooty, Manx, and Audubon’s Shearwaters; Wilson’s, Leach’s and White-faced Storm-Petrels; Northern Fulmar; Northern Gannet; Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers; South Polar Skua; Dovekies, and other Alcids

On the backyard feeder watch this guy has been very close to the house the last couple of days and calling. He is sitting on our canopy frame.  The Rusty Blackbirds continue under the feeders. 

Hydrographer Canyon
Hydrographer Canyon

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Today I didn't get out for my hike.  Monty hurt his foot on yesterday evenings hike and was not walking too well all day.  There was no way he was going for a hike. A forced day of rest.   It rained buckets all day and it was my sons last day home for Xmas break, this evening he went back to his final semester of college, so once he woke up, I spent the day hanging around him.  Ok...all good excuses for breaking my New Year's resolution, now what I need to do is to get up tomorrow and GET OUT THERE! NO EXCUSES!  I did get lots of work done towards my business that I'm opening on Monday and I figured out what I can do for my Master Naturalist volunteer work and also found webinars that would help educate me towards it, as I still need 14 hours.  I am awaiting approvals from my town board and my coordinator from Cornell.  My brain woke up!  Now I also cheated pretty badly on my clean eating, why?  I have no idea.  Tomorrow.....I do my best to do 100 days of clean eating and see if that can't help break my bad habits. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

60 degrees and rain

This is Winter?  I did a longer hike this morning in the rain, surprised to find so many dog friends also out there.  I chose to do the trails while most went up the road and looped the fields.  I only ran into one couple and their two RDRBs. Their male wasn't too nice to Monty.  Monty did a good job avoiding him.  Very proud of my boy.   Monty and I had a wonderful hike, I was definately dressed too warm, a simple rain coat would have suited me far better then my winter coat.  My rain pants were awesome, they kept me completely dry and cozy.  Monty had on his Raincoat too, which helped to keep the chill off of him.   There is no good excuse not to get out, the only ones I can think of is a hurricane, snowstorm with blowing winds or thunderstorms.  I bought myself another gift, 6 pairs of wool socks for hiking!  Simple things make me very happy.

Our major clean out continues and it is starting to take on a life of it's own.  I am wholeheartedly enjoying giving things away!   It's nice to know that someone is using things that sat in a closet.

Friday, January 10, 2014

These are the BOMB!

Today I tried out my new XTR Yaktrax Extremes,  that I bought for myself as a B'day gift, they are awesome!  I've owned other types of ice traction foot wear and even a cheaper version of the Yaktrax, these are outstanding and well worth the extra money.  I had a terrific hike today with no fear of falling on all the ice that is now covered with a light fluffy snow. I am feeling very guilty at how much I love my New Year's Resolution.  I love to get out in nature and if I could I'd stay out longer then I do.  I love Winter more as I get older and have learned how to dress properly.  It's so refreshing to be outside enjoying all the forest has to offer in each season.  I think I'm now going to take a picture each day of my hikes, just snap one and post it on this Blog. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


One of the Black Squirrels were successful reproducing!  Look at those baby faces! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

18 degrees

I headed out at 4pm today.  It was 18 degrees in the Parking Lot of Cascade Lake Park.   I thought that I would have the place to myself again, but there were 6 cars in the lot!  Reminded me of a beautiful warm day, not a frigid one.  No one was on the trails, there were a bunch of young men playing hockey on the frozen lake.  I started thinking about just how lucky I am to have so many incredible hiking trails so close to home.  There is no need for me to have to go to a gym.  I love hiking so much that I actually feel guilty most days.  Every day is a new adventure that I never tire of. So much changes each and every day.

Both Black Squirrels were at the feeders at the same time this morning!  Great to see them looking so healthy.

After my wonderful hike I made a delightful dinner for one as hubby is out for the night.  Coconut shrimp.  Easy and so good.  Ranger game is on later, perfect night. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


It was crazy cold the last 24 hours.  Monty and I got out for our hike.  I'm proud that I got dressed and showed up.  You just need to dress properly, lots of layers.  Monty wore a fleece, his thinsulate coat and snood.  I put Mushers Secret on his feet.  

On the home front there was a flock of a couple dozen Rusty Blackbirds.  The other species we here in large numbers as well.  I drove past a flock of Canada Geese who were sitting on their feet and eating grass. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


I'm six for six on my quest to hike 365 days this year!  Today's weather was crazy!  We went from freezing to the 50s in one day. Last night it started with freezing rain and overnight it ended up completely melting 8 inches of snow.  Now this evening the temps are dropping rapidly and expected to get below zero overnight with the windchill.  Now major freezing of all the melt water is occurring and we are going to have an icy mess.  The only creature I saw on my walk was a male Belted Kingfisher, surprising for this time of year.  He looked perfectly healthy and was very boisterous. 

The Kingfisher is
a symbol of peace and prosperity. 
The Kingfisher is the promise of abundance --
its blue plumage is associated with Jupiter, the planet of abundance. 
People with a Kingfisher totem need to live as near as possible to water
and as far north as possible. 
They have a knack of teaching their children how to enjoy life
and how to prosper at the same time.
If a Kingfisher comes into your life, you might be required
to dive headlong into some activity --
or possibly a new love will enter your life.
No matter what it is, don't be afraid of trying the new. 
Kingfisher will be there to guide you.
You won't drown -- and you will have sunshine, love and abundance!

That sounds like a great message! 

Today is the anniversary of my Dad's passing.  He's been gone 9 years now, does not seem possible.  I miss him. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Got out there again today for my hike, just a short one, I didn't feel like going at all, but I did it! Just put your hiking boots on and show up!  I ordered new wool sock last night, my feet will be comfy from now on!

My Xmas gift from good friends, they painted the roof with peanut butter and seed, the birds are loving it. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Rusty Blackbird

A couple hundred cold hungry birds are feasting at my feeders this am, including 4 Rusty Blackbirds.  After shoveling for a couple of hour, hubby and I  had a great snowshoe up at Cascade Lake Park.

Rusty Black Bird

Sharp-shined Hawk has been busy

My Xmas Tree

Just decided what my New Years resolution is!  I will HIKE every single day this year!  


Thursday, January 2, 2014


We are having our first snowstorm of 2014!  Hercules is here and he is dropping about a foot of snow on us.  The temps this evening have now dropped down to 9 degrees and the winds are picking up to over 20 mph.  Late this afternoon we went for a wonderful hike up at Cascade Lake Park.  Tomorrow we can put the snowshoes on! I love winter.
Look who is alive and well!  She looks amazing.  She has been at my feeders all week, I really enjoy watching her. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I am very grateful for the past year.  We are so blessed with so many wonderful friends and family to support and love us though some of the difficulties we faced.  This holiday season was so much fun.  We have had a houseful of people and tons of great food since Thanksgiving.  Our children continue to be a total blessing, as do their friends and most of our nieces and nephews.  I'm so proud of the adults they all have become.  Hubby and I were fortunate to take so many wonderful vacations this first year of freedom from his company.  We spent a week in CA visiting our son, Montauk Point with friends,  Hubby went to GA with our 2 middle boys,  Letchworth State Park with our college friends,  2 weeks out west on the trip of a lifetime with my mom and step-dad,  VT with our wonderful friends,  Lake George Islands with friends,  the coast of ME to the most beautiful house we have ever stayed in, and finally to VA to visit my Uncle and Aunt.  It was an amazing year of travel!   Here's to a New Year!  Welcome 2014!