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Something Is Amiss At My Local Park

Something seemed different at the park today. From a distance, the “infield” area looks barer. It’s usually a thicket of deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines, complemented with a healthy stand of invasive phragmite. It doesn’t appear quite as dense today, but my first view is from a distance so I’m not sure.

bare

This park, the closest to where I live, is small – only 38 acres. A walking path around its perimeter is only a mile in length. But a mile rich in diversity and habitat. Read more

Nature In The ‘Burbs On a December Weekend

Here’s a quick photo tour of the nature “just outside my door” on a December weekend. Very exciting as I discovered two little gems nearby!!

Hiked through a “new to me” section of Gunpowder State Park with the local birding club. This spot is a 10 minute drive from my home. Isn’t it lovely?

Gunpowder SP_121413

A hawk has returned to our neighborhood. I think it scouts the uber flock of blackbirds commuting by in the morning and evening. Shortly after spying him in the tree, he took chase after two crows. Read more

Watching for the Geminid Meteor Showers

It’s 4am. I find myself on my town-home deck, waking up with a cup of coffee and the chill in the air. I normally get up from sleep at 4am but I don’t usually go outside at that time when it’s 18 degrees. Brrrr ….

Yet another night-time nature event I want to engage in. The Geminid meteor showers should be visible.The shower appears every year as Earth travels through the path of asteroid 3200 Phaethon. On a regular cycle, Phaethon gets close to the sun. The heat fractures it, throwing off bits and pieces of itself, which vaporize into what we’ve named as the Geminid meteors. This year it occurs December 13 and 14. Read more

Irruptions, Snowy Owls, and Holiday Traditions “Down y Ocean”

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I did something I said I would never do: spend a good chunk of a day in hunt of a rare bird that’s been sighted. I am truly impressed, amazed, and fascinated by bird-watching enthusiasts who will travel for miles or hours for a glimpse of a bird.

You see, my theory for not engaging in that practice is that … Birds fly away. My (tongue-in-cheek) thinking is: Just because a bird has been in a spot does not mean it will ever go there again. And if so, finding yourself in the same spot as said bird at the exact same time are pretty low odds. Pull out binoculars and the bird is sure to flit away. A camera? – good as gone.

That’s why I was surprised to find myself trudging through the sand on the beach Sunday morning at Delaware Seashore State Park instead of following through with my annual holiday tradition of some R&R “downy ocean”,  browsing the artsy shops of downtown Rehoboth. The only formal bird watching I had planned was watching the seagulls as I indulged in Thrasher’s french fries along the boardwalk. Read more