Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Heading South

Everything is packed, including Frances.  Time to leave Edwin B. Forsythe NWR.

Stopping to play along tobacco row.

The Great Smoky Mountains are beautiful!

Visiting friends and fellow NWR volunteers Pat and Ward.

Stepping back onto another section of the Appalachian Trail, this time in Georgia.
Visiting another wildlife refuge and fellow volunteers a little farther south. 

A special guided swamp tour with friends, Mary and Fay.

Sharing the gifts of fellow volunteers in New Jersey, thanks Donnalyn.

Watching a Gulf Coast sunset after swimming with manatee with another fellow NWR volunteer, Emily.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Atlantic City Area

The Atlantic City Skyline

Tuckerton Seaport and Maritime museum

                                                                         Messages in the fog.

blood moon in November

  The non-dancing black swan.

                                                             Cape May Lighthouse

 Lucy the Elephant...

The Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ is the pipe organ in the Main Auditorium of the Boardwalk Hall (formerly known as the Atlantic City Convention Hall) 

Our favorite meet market...the prepared dinners and subs are AWESOME!

Atop a lighthouse in Atlantic City

Beach warnings

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Appalachian Trail

A quick drive from New Jersey to a great trailhead in Pennsylvania.  The fall colors were beautiful.

The parking lot behind us with only a few cars we knew the hike was going to be awesome.  

We planned a seven mile loop up to Sunfish Pond and back down.  

As we snacked at the water's edge, we finally heard and then saw several other hikers.  

Frances was commended for her hiking prowess by one of the young hikers we ran into having their lunch break.  She wondered how the "little dog" made in through the area of boulders.  

Of course, Frances had been carried.

Noting beauty in all forms and respecting history.

Our hike on this little piece of the Appalachian Trail was successful for all.   

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Coastal waters brackish and gray
Home for the birds going to the south
And then back north 
a stopping point along the way

Our volunteer gig was a prearranged short time for Forsythe...they had had a cancelation and we were to fill in as the other couple was leaving shortly after we got there.  

We arrived during a storm.  The outer band of a hurricane was driving winds and rain across the pools so hard the refuge viewing roads were closed.  Our volunteer coordinator Sandy showed us to our site...only two RV sites here for rvers and the other taken.  We backed in beside a nice class a.  Near a large two story house with a basement.  This house was living quarters for refuge scientists, their offices and laundry facility for all of us.  Behind us there was a beautiful the fall took over it became one of my favorite places to photograph.  The staff parked in front of us so weekends it was pretty empty.  However, weekdays it was a bustling little area.  

Dog walks crossed the parking lot and followed a small roadway from the refuge into a small rural road.  Often Frances and I would head into the woods following the deer track or the sounds of wild turkeys.  One day, I found the mother load, a large shell.  Obviously an eagle or other bird of prey had brought dinner into the woods to dine alone.  I enjoyed hunting birds, small mammals, and of course mushrooms with my camera as the leaves changed colors in this beautiful wood.  I had an opportunity to learn more about photography from fellow volunteer, Ed.

Mean while our volunteer job was working in the gift shop with Donna Lynn and Jan and a few others.  We cleaned, bathrooms, provided birding reports and brochures, and acted as store cashier over the weekends.  Our supervisor, Amanda, still a friend,  loves birding.  She'd take us out and help us identify the myriad of water fowl and song birds.  When I explained interpretative roving we had done at Bosque Del Apache, I was supported greatly and was allowed to set up a similar program .  A lack of vehicles for roving ended the program when we left.  I'm hoping they get in going again's a great way to meet birders out on the dikes near the water fowl. We enjoyed manning the store and museum but loved watching the birds on both the fresh and salt water ponds.  Over 150 species of birds visit Forsythe through the year.  We were pleased to see  lucistic wild turkeys, wood ducks, and watch harriers hunt the fields. A wide variety of mammals also use the sanctity of the refuge include rabbits, deer, fox, coyotes, and beaver.  

The people of Forsythe were wonderful to work beside.  Our fellow volunteers both RVer and local not only cared about the lands and animals but were supportive of their coworkers and genuinely friendly.  

Our gig covered two important holidays; Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Holidays always bring people closer together. The Halloween party coordinated by Sandy had some scheduling issues; it almost ran into Thanskgiving, LOL...ok that's not entirely true but wearing a Halloween costume on November 11 feels a little out of place. I of course made a costume. I was working on a refuge so I was a bird.  A penguin to be precise.  Kathy was a fulltime RVer.  I considered making her a sign saying "will work for RV spot".  We attended a great party in a small cabin with several other volunteers. I helped create a murder mystery game during the party, something like clue.  The victim, a doll, was killed by a pirate. 

Thanksgiving on the other hand was a small gathering inside the staff housing next to us.  One of the tech guys cooked a great turkey while we made dressing, sweet potatoes and of course brought canned cranberry jelly, my favorite.  The neighbor RVer brought the pumpkin pie.  We all had plenty to eat and enjoyed the companionship throughly.

In early December our commitment came to an end.  We had served at four refuges in four flyways and were on to a different adventure.....but that's another post.