Spring is on the way!

Grassland Survey - Lakehurst NAS

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!!

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Theme 37 – Building

New Jersey Farm
New Jersey Farm

Hello!  I’m still working out my computer issues.  I have a new laptop, but the operating system won’t allow me to use my older version of Photoshop Elements.  So this photo has had zero processing – straight out of the camera.

I took this photo from one of my grassland bird survey points, a large privately-owned farm in northwestern New Jersey.   The survey protocols require a short wait period before beginning the bird count.  The wait period allows the birds some time to adjust to the presence of a human in their habitat, and hopefully return to their normal behavior.  It was about 6:30 AM when I snapped this photo, and the morning mist was just beginning to rise out of the fields.

Hopefully I’ll be able to devote a bit more time to photography now that the surveys are winding down.  I do need to locate photo software that will operate under Microsoft Vista 64-bit, and all suggestions are appreciated!!  Thanks for looking.