I am so incredibly happy that this winter is finally coming to a close. Unusual for me. I typically enjoy all seasons and continue with my outdoor activities – hiking, birding, photography can be done anytime really. This winter was challenging on several fronts with a combination of extraordinarily snowy weather and probably the worst cold I’ve had in years. So I’m happy this year to kick February and the first part of March to the curb and start gearing up Spring.
Good news arrived in the form of an e-mail a few days ago. The New Jersey Audubon Society has begun planning for the grassland bird surveys and I’ve been selected to survey one of the very best grassland areas in the state, Lakehurst NAS. This photo of me was taken by one of the NJAS research scientist, Kristin Mylecraine, as I was walking out of the field after completing last year’s survey. Because of the large open fields on either side of their runways, airports and military bases are considered some of the best remaining grassland areas in New Jersey and provides safe harbor for many species that have lost most of their habitat to development and changes in farming techniques.
Lakehurst is one of three surveys in which I take part. I complete grassland surveys on several large farms in northwestern New Jersey and, along with my son, complete a nighttime survey of nightjars (whip-poor-wills, nighthawks) deep in the Pine Barrens. And I’m planning other activities that’ll keep me outdoors and taking photos throughout the summer, including several guided walks through the pine barrens and a pinelands botany course run by another great organization, the Pineland Preservation Alliance.
Finally, thanks to those of you in my new discussion group that have stopped by. I’m going to spend some of this very rainy weekend catching up on your blogs and placing links on mine. Happy Spring!!