Monday, May 30, 2016


We had a wonderful time up at Letchworth State Park staying in our tiny little cabin.  I love that place! We had great visits with lots of good friends, and even had family go with us this year.  Such a wonderful tradition.  I am going to call 2016 the year of the Chipmunks!  I have never seen so many in the thirty plus years we have been going to the park! There were dozens around our cabin. Everywhere you went in the park they were scurrying around or calling.  They had holes all over the place and were climbing trees.  It was incredible!  I didn't get to do much more then sit around, but it was beautiful just the same.  I never get tired of the beauty of the park.  A real temperate Rain forest, full of old growth trees and a healthy under-story of flowers.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Added to Bucket List:


Location: New Jersey School of Conservation (NJSOC) in Stokes State Forest, Sussex County, New Jersey

Description: This course is designed to introduce college-level students to the reptiles and amphibians of the Northeast United States, the environments they inhabit, and the techniques that are used to conserve and study them in the field.  Most of the course will involve hands-on field activities that allow students to get "up close and personal" with the salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, and snakes that call the Northeast home. A small number of classroom lectures and lab activities will also contribute to the student learning experience.

The course will include:
•       Discussions of reptile and amphibian natural history: their basic biology, life histories, and habitats
•       Discussions on the conservation and management of reptiles and amphibians
•       Reptile and amphibian identification and taxonomy
•       Identification of calling amphibians by ear
•       Habitat, plant, and non-herp animal identification
•       Reptile and amphibian sampling, trapping, and marking/tagging techniques
•       Radiotelemetry
•       Reptile and amphibian tissue sampling for DNA analysis
•       Collection of occupancy, relative abundance, mark-recapture, physical, environmental, and geographic data
•       Field note recordation and organization
•       Field photography
•       Day and night surveys for reptiles and amphibians
•       Hikes through several diverse northeastern habitats
•       Off-site field trips to natural areas that are different from those around the NJSOC
•       Participation in ongoing herpetological studies at the NJSOC and elsewhere

Cost: $750 for one week or $1000 for two weeks (fees cover food, lodging, and instruction)

Academic Credit: One to three (1-3) transferable, undergraduate credits are obtainable through Montclair State University for an additional fee.  Non-credit options are also available. To receive academic credit and financial aid, participants attend the course in June, then register for the course during the fall 2016 semester.

Qualifications: Participants should be in relatively good physical shape and capable of hiking several miles in a range of conditions through moderate-difficult terrain.  Above all, participants are expected to be capable of college-level work and possess a strong interest in field biology, ecology, or another closely-related discipline.  Class space is limited and participants will be accepted on a first come, first served basis providing they satisfy the above preconditions.

JUNE 2017 this class is a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to go to camp, and a camp only about Herpetology.....WOW! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Perfect 10

I am so grateful to have an active dog that must go out for a run each day.  He has kept me in the moment and moving while I undergo treatment.  We only go to our land now as I'm too weak and really don't want to run into people.  It's been such a blessing to finally discover all that lives on that beautiful piece of property.  I really had no idea.  As with everyone else, my time has always been limited, and I like to run the dog in two different parks with nice loops.  I've been missing so much because there are far more nesting birds on our land then in the two parks put together!  Too many people and dogs in them.  It is so wonderful to spend so much quality time on that pristine little piece of heaven.  Today's great birds,  a pair of Scarlet Tanagers! Happy World Turtle Day to me~ 3 WTs too!  Only one is new, of cause another male. 

I did a birding loop, and watched close to two dozen Bobolinks on Lower Wisner Road and also saw a Brown Thrasher. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

YES I'm soooooo ready!

I saw this on FB today and boy did it hit home!  I've been sick for nearly a year....and I'm so F**king sick of being sick.  I want my body and life back.  My life is going to be SO DIFFERENT NOW when I'm recovered from BC.  I will never ever again take another moment of health or happiness for granted! I'm so ready to get back to MY active fun life!  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chair bound

I'm at the point of treatment where it is an effort to even get out of my chair.  I am still able to do chores, although very slowly, some errands and take Monty for walks up at our land.  I am spending most of my time in my very comfortable lazyboy chair by the front living room window.  The greatest gift I gave myself during my illness,  was to have hubby move all my feeders upfront so I can watch the birds from sun-up to sundown.  They keep me engaged and in the moment. There is always something going on outside.  I put seed on the brick right up against the window, so the birds come nice and close.  Now that all our Summer birds have returned, it's been even more magical. Two days ago I had an Indigo Bunting visit upfront. Everyday, all day long,  I have 3 male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and one female.  Two look to be last years young, as they are immature, they still have some brown feathers and more black speckling.   Both the adult male and female tolerate them, they all eat together, and there is no chasing.  Orioles and Wood Thrush as both singing constantly.  Such sweet music to my ears.  I have about a half dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbirds between the front and back nectar feeders. Such a joy to watch those beautiful tiny creatures.

Out and about magic continues. So many birds and so little energy. Everyday I go to the land and walk Monty and soak up all the songs and beauty.  Each day I am gifted with Warblers, Thrushes, Flickers, Swallows, Blue-birds, Sparrows, Orioles, our usual forest birds, ducks, Great-blue Herons and our nesting pair of Red-tailed hawks. There was a Vulture hanging around today, I'd be willing to bet there is a nest up on the side of the mountain.  Bonus's have been turtles(9) and snakes(2).  They are the icing on the cake. I'm grateful to have Turtle Point Road to walk while I'm so fatigued.  I miss the other parks for sure, but I will get up there after treatment is over and I have my energy level back.

Today  I went on my birding drive, notables were a Raccoon out and about, she looked pretty good so I'd assume it's a female out eating so she can nurse her babies. On State School Road there were two Killdeer running on the road, they must have young already hatched.  Such pretty birds. On the way home I was driving along Wisner Road and noticed a large dark shape up in a tree.  Upon closer was a HUGE Tom Turkey!  Then I noticed a second one!  They both looked so silly roosting up at the top of small trees.  They had to weigh in at 25#s each.  I've seen those boys before and they are both very large.

The one thing I love best about nature and seasons, is how predictable they are.  Each year the very same birds and animals show up around the same time.  It really gives me something to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brand new eyes

I just love Spring.  It is still so amazing to me, that each year we get to watch the rebirth of nature all over again.  Watching it all unfold is a true gift to those of us who pay attention.  Every moment of each day there is something magical just waiting for you to set your eyes upon.  Give yourself a real present, get out there and ENJOY it all!  Step outside of your busy day, go outside, look, listen, smell, feel it all.  I promise you, it will make your day so much better. 

Today my joys included.  A beautiful N. Watersnake, Kingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Blue birds, Yellow Warblers, Orioles, and all the other beautiful birds I see on a daily basis.  I heard ovenbirds too!  I watched a Oriole strip bark off of a tree and weave it into its nest that it was building.  Everyday there is the opportunity to see something new.   The Red-tailed Hawks nest on our land, now has young in it! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Wild animals

As I scroll though the pages of FB each day, there are so many posts and videos that make me really sad. There are hundreds of posts and videos circulating on FB of *cute* wild animals being kept indefinitely in captivity, interacting with people and pets that they never should be around, these images all make my heart sink.  Wild animals are never happy spending their lives in captivity. With the amount of information out there in cyberworld, I don't understand how people don't understand the difference between a wild animal and a domestic animal.  I don't think most of the posts are cute at all, when I see one I can only think of is how much happier the animal would be out in its natural home in nature, living wild and free and with it's own kind.  How come I see the world so differently then most people?  Maybe it's due to the fact that I spend a lot of time outside hiking and I am very lucky to live in a area that has so much wildlife that I often get to see. I also do a bit of Wildlife rehab, and have seen how happy an animal is when it's finally released and takes it's natural place back in nature.   I think as humans we are drawn to want to be around animals, maybe it's part of our dna. Too bad we can't all just be happy with having domestic pets and farm animals. When we know better.....we should all do better.

 I will keep teaching about co-existing with our wild neighbors, it's my passion. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kamana One

So today I finally pulled out the Kamana One Naturalist Class,  CD #1 and the workbook.  Why did I wait so long?   Maybe it was meant to be that I saved it until now, as I finish up Chemotherapy over the next 5 weeks, it will keep me super busy and engaged.   The course is so interesting and I'm already learning a lot after just listening to CD #1.  Such a different way to study nature. It engages every one of your senses, instead of just learning all you can about the nature in the area you live.  I started a handwritten journal as it suggested.  It's good to constantly notice what is going on right outside your window and write it down several times each day.  I have all the time in the world right now, so it's a perfect thing for me to be doing.  The class already has me living in the moment and noticing everything around me.  CD#1 tells you of the importance of the sit spot. It is considered to be the best learning tool of anything you can do to become more intimately connected with nature. I can't wait to continue tomorrow!   

Sweet baby