Work, birds, chocolate, laundry

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

In that order. ūüôā

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‚Ķ.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! ūüėÉ

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. ¬†ūüôā ¬†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! ūüôā

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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. ūüôā 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. ¬†ūüėČ 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. ūüôā ¬†)

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!

No place like home


Well, my birthday was last week and I admit I took the opportunity to play the birthday card more than once. ūüôā We spend the holiday weekend back in my old stomping grounds of northern NJ.¬†I ate several servings of dessert¬†Friday night, went birding Sat morning ¬†and had a chance to visit with dear family and friends all weekend. ¬†What fun!

A visit to Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary was at the top of the list.¬†It’s one of New Jersey Audubon’s Centers, just minutes from¬†my childhood home. They happened to be hosting¬†a family nature walk Sat morn, so I dragged my boys and hubby to join me. We had a great time (see pics below) and since I hadn’t been north of my Maryland home since last year, I added black-capped chickadee to my Mom’s Big Year list. Yay!

Scherman Hoffman is a special place to me. I clearly recall visiting when¬†I was a high schooler, enjoying chats with the long-time director,¬†Rich Kane, and asking¬†Pete Dunne for advice on how to go about saving the last tract of woods in my hometown of Parsippany. In the late ’80’s, I took my first¬†warbler ID course there. Great memories for sure.

Indeed, there’s no place like home.

Spring Break

This past week may have been Spring Break for the professor in me, but it was far from a break for the birder in me! It was ‘catch-up’ time….ticking birds for Mom’s Big Year! Fun!

My plans to get ahead on several weeks of class lecture prep went out the window, with local sightings of harlequin ducks and other fun birds posted Monday. There were several winter birds still out there on the coast of Maryland that I needed, so I sent a quick email out. Shortly after I sent it, I had several very kind offers from local birder buddies to get out in the field with me all over the state this week! Fun!

I’m still recovering… and soon you’ll know why..

Last Wed 1:11 am-bedtime…IMG_6011


followed by a 4:14 am wake-up for a trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to chase winter waterfowl for the day.


I’ve got a whole lot to tell about some really fun birds, including a long-tailed duck and gannets!

Every night I sit at my laptop to write you all about it….. BUT¬†I fall asleep… ūüôā

Tonight as I tried to squeeze in the last moments of daylight… I was outside pruning the bushes(despite being completely overtired) and accidentally clipped a string of Christmas lights still hanging. Yes, you heard me, Christmas lights.. you can laugh now.. as the wreath is still up too! ¬† (So, perhaps it’s not TOO late for me to send out those holiday cards after all. LOL!)


Such is life in a busy Mom’s Big Year, right. ūüôā¬†

Must get to bed now as migration is starting!

But I’ll post more soon!

Good night and good birding,