Waterfowl has always been my "thing." Many happy, youthful days spent at duck ponds started me on this path and when I began watching birds, my love of ducks (along with other water birds) grew -- they are large, somewhat slow-moving, sport great colors, and have easy dispositions for observation. Plus, they like the water, and so do I.
(Well, all trips come to an end, and as I now post the last entry, I say farewell to Costa Rica -- for now....) This was our first "proper" trip to a place south of Texas (a couple cruise vacation stops don't count, now matter how adventurous we may have been).
(Costa Rica is months ago, but I am determined to have it stay in the forefront of my mind by spacing out blog posts!) We've moved from the very comfortable surroundings near Manuel Antonio and traded them for a cabin about 1 1/2 hours north along the coast outside the small town of Tárcoles.
Night in the tropical wet forest (a climate just a few inches shy of being a full-fledged rain forest) differs from the cloud forest not only in temperature and air moisture but also in sound. Mountains feature subtle insect sound, while in the tropics, it's a cacophony. Insects sing through the night and birds call well before the sun rises and temperatures rise. But of all these calling creatures, I found the geckos most intriguing.
Raúl, our naturalist guide from the previous day, pointed out a particularly melodic trill from the Clay-colored Robin. Based on the song, one would understandably expect to see a stunner of a bird especially since it is the national bird of Costa Rica, yet the species is quite true to its common name with dull, brownish coloring, but at least sporting a regal shape.
I admit, my view of southern Florida was narrow. As some might expect New Yorkers to be rude and unfriendly (a common misconception), I was expecting southern Florida to be filled with golf courses, strip malls, and seniors high-tailing it to the oft mentioned early-bird dinners starting at 3pm.
Looking over the past year, I realize it's been one filled with firsts. My first Humpback Whale sighting, off the coast of Long Beach, Long Island no less, and a testament to our area's cleaner waters.
I'm able play dress up (or more accurately, dress down) and pretend at my little urban farm in Brooklyn, growing some of my own food, and nurturing my ever-increasing respect for those who actually farm for a living.
I have seen the enemy and it has compound eyes and six legs. Right now, a war is on against a few members of the class Insecta. This crafty enemy is armed with efficient mouth parts and, shall we say, energetic reproductive systems. I am outgunned.
To know me is to know I love nature, particularly birds, and especially ducks. Of all our dabblers and divers, my favorite remains the very common Mallard. Few things bring me as much joy and peace as watching the birds we grew up toddling after at a local duck pond. So you can imagine my bliss when we spotted 10 freshly-hatched ducklings at my wonderful workplace, Queens Botanical Garden.
No secret here -- I can wax poetic about city life and I'm particularly eager to talk about nature in my fair city. Sure, those big national parks are great but where else can you see endangered bird species AND catch a Broadway play all in one day?
River, lake, estuary, fjord – these conjure majestic, pristine waterways. But I have a particular affection for the lowly creek. Like the black sheep of the family, the creek is not savored or preserved. It’s usually the place to dump things, and the place you don’t want to live near.
I received my first diary for Christmas when I was eight. Writing was never a bother, but I never took to the practice of recording the happenings of each day despite my good intentions. Now I'm trying to change my ways by keeping a diary for the sake of my garden, to have an annual record of planting dates, vegetable yields, chores, and other such minutiae.
I really have no right to complain considering this mild winter. But no matter – around this time every year I get desperate for warmer weather and flowers. Conveniently some plants are happy to accommodate my longing.
All work and no play makes me a very, VERY dull girl. And so it has been while I work on the revamp of my other website, NYC Nature News (check it out and check back often as I'll be updating regularly!). Just took longer than expected...
To remedy this situation, I enjoyed a rejuvenating nature excursion but took a whopping 3 weeks to write about it!
The afflicted among us keep our thoughts to ourselves to avoid ridicule from others, and are overjoyed when we find like-minded kin. We make secret purchases at the grocery store, and then proceed to the nearest park.
We are the squirrel fanciers. And there's more of us than you'd expect!