To the Mountains..

Headed out at 5:30 this morn to hit the mountains of western Maryland for Golden-winged Warbler and Henslow’s Sparrow.  Thanks to local bird club member, Kurt, for being up for the excursion and for doing the driving. 

Just got Common Raven for the year! 

Wish us luck! 🙂 

The REAL question….


I leave Sunday for the BIGGEST of the Mom’s Big Year trips so far and still have oodles of items on the to-do list.  I’m starting to accept the fact that they’re just not going to get done. I kept thinking I had another week and it dawned on me the other day that my plane leaves for Austin early THIS Sunday!

I texted one of my dearest and oldest friends yesterday and confided in her that with everything going on — I just didn’t feel quite ready for this big and exciting adventure.

Her response….

“But is Texas ready for YOU? ……..THAT is the question.”


Here’s to another 30+ years of friendship, Tamar!  Thank you for always dishing out EXACTLY what I need to hear when I need it most!

XOXO, Nancy



Work, birds, chocolate, laundry

My day in 4 words. Work. Birds. Chocolate. Laundry.

In that order. 🙂

Didn’t think I’d get to squeeze in some birding to day with end-of the semester grades due soon and lots of loose ends to tie up at work….. but I did!  And the little bit of birding I did do was quite productive.  Chestnut-sided Warbler in the yard, Olive-sided Flycatcher nearby and Common Nighthawks streaming in over Centennial Lake this eve.

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Peace, Love, Birds!


Life is never better for me than after a trip with LOTS of birds and dear friends!

I have SO much to say and so little time to say it….

But here’s a post I drafted on the plane ride home Monday followed by a busy week of soccer, baseball games, viola lessons, and finals for my class….. I’m FINALLY getting a chance to post it!

“The last 5 days went by in a flash.. and here I sit on the plane ride home….smiling, exhausted, fulfilled and exhilarated.

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Mom’s Big Year is… 

about to get BIGGER!

After several teary goodbyes to my youngest this morning….I showed up to class in my hiking boots, gave my students their last exam for the semester, plugged in their grades and went straight to the airport.  I’m heading to ‘The Biggest Week in American Birding’ at Magee Marsh in Ohio and I’m SUPER excited! 😃

Looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, making some new ones, and adding some new species to the MBY list!

Will report back soon! 

Twenty minutes to spare…


I spent yesterday’s environmental science lecture discussing the ins and outs of forest fragmentation and the impact of the edge effect on forest-interior dwelling species. Super fun for me as I had a chance talk about wood thrushes, cowbirds and such.  I usually keep my cell phone on the podium so I can watch the time… Unbeknownst to my students, I saw several texts come in about a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron that had just been discovered at Centennial lake.  🙂  It’s a bird not frequently seen in my home county and one I still needed for the year. I wanted to end class early and hop in my car…. but I resisted! 🙂

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Watersheds, crockpots and owls! Oh my!

I’ve been wanting to blog since my fantastic trip birding Poplar Island on the Chesapeake Bay last week but have been running full steam ever since. It was a really fun day out in the field, but I’ll have to save my report for another day.

The title listed above is today in a nutshell!  Watersheds, crockpots and owls, oh my! Sounds like a non sequitur doesn’t it?.. But isn’t a mom’s life simply a series of non sequiturs?  Actually, I think I’m a professional at non sequiturs…LOL.  Now I even know how to spell it correctly. 🙂 Continue reading

Pick 3

Work. sleep. family. fitness. friends.  (And let’s add BIRDING too– or whatever your *passion* might be!)

“Pick three”, I’ve been told.

Hmmm… As a mom, ‘family’ ~always~ is at the top of the list and for me ‘friends’ need to be in there too.. And if you know me well enough.. then you know that Nature Nancy NEEDS to have ‘birding’ in there too.. And you may know that I’m loving my new job — so I need to include that as well… So, that means there’s nothing left for ‘sleep’ & ‘fitness’.  Hmmm. <Insert head scratch here>

IMG_6290Last week, sleep had to take a back seat.. as friends (and work) needed some more attention. I did try to beat the system and sneak in some extra sleep, however.  😉 I have become an expert at setting a three-minute timer on my phone during the day and taking a nap for those three minutes. I’m not sure that that qualifies as real sleep, but I’ll take what I can get. (And yes, I CAN fall asleep for a good portion of those three minutes.  Just ask my son… Out of curiosity and fascination, he’s actually watched me achieve this feat first-hand more than once. 🙂  )

The lack of sleep finally caught up with me though and the tone of the week took a downward turn. A mommy friend was just diagnosed with breast cancer. . Whenever I hear news like this, I feel as if I’ve been punched in the stomach.  I was planning to go birding that day and blog all about it– but instead there I stood in the grocery store, the get well cards fading into a blur as my eyes welled with tears.shopcart620 I was searching for just the right card and flowers as a ‘pick-me-up’. I needed to do ~something~, anything for this friend.. and birding/blogging would just have to wait.
I ducked into the next aisle attempting to dry my eyes. As a steady stream of tears began to fall, I found myself pretending to read the cans of Raid (of all things) that happened to be in front of me, just to avoid drawing any attention to myself. My attempts to juggle my lack of sleep, birding, teaching, friends and family had all caught up with me… Greeting-Cards-People-Cancerbut I knew I had every right to cry, even if I wasn’t spread so thin.

I feel much better after finally getting a good night’s sleep and I know my friend is going to knock the socks off her cancer!

Last week was a sobering reminder to me that a Mom’s Big Year of birding involves a whole lot more than just the birds.






End of the earth

This past weekend was one of those that you want to bottle up and save for a rainy day. My brother-in-law got married (Yay Mike and Elizabeth!) and it was a weekend full of fun times with family and dear friends.  Lucky for me, I have a ‘built-in’ birding buddy in the family—so, Uncle David and I had a chance to duck out and go birding in between the festivities! (Yay us!)  The weather was not our friend this weekend (as you can see by our ‘drowned rat’ look in the photo)… but we went birding anyway.:-)

All smiles despite the rain! 
Pouring rain


The family festivities were based about an hour south of DC—which some of my friends would consider the complete and utter end of the earth. Well, Uncle David and I drove an ~additional~ 45 minutes south to Point Lookout.. the southernmost point in Maryland’s western shore. My metropolitan Jersey friends would no doubt feel like they were truly at the end of the earth!

Pt. Lookout Lighthouse on a dreary day.

Point Lookout


Our birding highlights included no new ticks for Mom’s Big Year.. but we had some great looks at a beautiful flock of cedar waxwings as well as about 200 great blue herons that took to the sky while we were there. It appears there must be a rookery and they were spooked by a passing eagle or something. It’s always great to squeeze in some birding with Uncle David any chance I can get! I know that having a sharp, fun, skilled and ‘always up for an adventure’ birding companion in the family is not something to take for granted. Every birder should be so lucky as to have an Uncle David.

David and I agreed the highlight of our morning spent at Point Lookout was our stop at Buzzy’s Country Store on the way home.


And trust me, a step back in time… at the end of the earth… is deserving of a blog post all its own.

Stay tuned & good birding!

Migration is here!