Thursday, February 26, 2009


That's the sign that should posted outside my office and home right now. We were struck down by some virus early this week. Half my work group has been out sick for multiple days. I started feeling symptoms late sunday and by monday morning my sore throat, tiredness, and aches and pains were in full effect. I still had hope that I could kick it and thought the others were working outside. Come tuesday, cue the sinus congestion, sneezing, and occasional cough. I then found out that I was the only one who made it to the work from my row of cubbies. Even birdman, who never takes sick days had been out monday and tuesday. I told the higher ups that I would be taking the rest of the week off using vacation time since I had so much time. By wednesday, everything had kicked it up a notch. I didn't get a full night of sleep thanks to my ailments. I was either in bed or on the couch all wednesday. I knew that my cough was the result of draining sinuses, so I was hesitant to take anything to stop it. But trying to sleep last night, I had it with the non-stop cough and pulled out the big guns. I had some ancient prescription "do not drive or operate heavy machinery" type cough medicine. I had barely one dose and boy did it do the trick. I don't think I coughed once at night and was able to mostly sleep through the night. When I did wake up in the middle of the night, I felt very relaxed (no aches/pains) and don't have to cough. It was a lovely and restful 14 hour sleep. Today I'm feeling less congested, but everything else is still present. The cough has kicked it up a notch. I have a doc appointment tomorrow so hopefully I'll be on the road to recovery by that time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Owl paparazzi

A couple rare owls have been roosting along a dead end road not that far from my house. Even if it was the common great horned owl, I'd be checking it out since seeing owls are not a common experience for me. The owls hang out in evergreen trees literally along the road. You don't even have to get your feet dirty. The first I checked them out I was only there for like 15 minutes and two cars drove up and joined in the fun. As I was leaving, I could see that two kids from the second car were running full speed towards the owls. I was cringing at what the owls must have thought. I was sure they would fly off and that would be the end of the owl show. But when I went by today, they were still there in the same tree. The bf and I were mulling about in the road mostly gawking at the obscenely slow car show that was going on. A mercedes was driving at like 1 mph with two cars behind it. One car ran out of patience and passed it. The other car suffered behind it. Finally the mercedes was at us. I expected a "Hey. Do you know where the owls are?" type chat. Nope it was "I shouldn't have to tell you but you shouldn't walking around by the owls. You should only observe them from your car." The bf and I really had no response since there's no reasoning with the insane. The bf and I were being respectful, quiet, and gave the owls their space except for the couple quick photo shots. Plus if the owls were so upset, then it was easy enough for them to fly off or move away from the road. Then the mercedes popped it in reverse and was about to ram the car behind it. The long suffering car behind it finally had enough and passed it. We headed back to the car and watched the benz turn around and head back again at 1 mph. We saw one of the following cars had parked so we joined them. We comiserated on the insane benz antics.

Both outings had troublesome weather conditions. High winds on day one for the pic below. But I think it came out kind of cool. The top pic was during the rain on day two.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A preview of spring

Last week, we had a brief taste of spring. The weather was unseasonably mild and sunny. It seemed like everyone was outside enjoying the brief respite from winter. I scrambled to go out in the field to this nice mature wooded site in northern New Jersey. We were looking for owls and potential nests. It was a site where the walking was easy and the prickers were kept at a minimum. No owls were spotted but several stick nests and one tree cavity were noted. We'll keep our eyes on those when the season officially starts in March.
This very large wooded site and the warm weather had me on alert for bears. There just has to be some hibernating bears on this site, but I didn't see any signs. Maybe up in the higher hills which we mostly avoided. Apparently some bears will wake up in the middle of winter if the weather is warm. They will come out and look for food. Once the weather turns wintry, they head back into hibernation mode. I'm predicting at some point in the future that bears will no longer hibernate in New Jersey. The easy access to garbage and the warming trend will make them a year-round presence.
One thing of interest during my outing was this large tree that is propped up. Either the ground subsided or perhaps the tree grew partially on top of a rotting stump. After awhile the stump would go back to nature and voila you have a tree that's raised up. These are all just theories of course. I also found this interesting rock with all sorts of pastel shades. The picture does not show it well, so you'll just have to try to visualize it.

After our warm spell, we had over a day worth of insane wind. People were killed by falling trees and trees were down everywhere. It was so windy at the office that I thought someone was humming when I first walked in. Then I realized it was the wind howling through the cracks and heating/a/c roof units. It also sounded like someone's cell phone vibrator was going crazy from the wind. I don't know if this wind vane was the casuality of this storm or that's just the way it's always been. But this sad weather vane that I made the bf take a photo was at East Jersey Olde Town. My camera just couldn't get a good far away shot. While at Olde Town, everything was given a prefix of "olde." We didn't take the tour to see the insides of the old buildings so I peered in the windows instead. So there was ye olde electric outlet, handicap ramp, card table, folding chairs, a/c unit, etc. It was a bit of a bummer to see the insides mostly filled with folding chairs and other modern day office junk. But what can you do.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hibernation mode

Winter hibernation mode has continued. Field work has been slim to none with nothing of interest to report on. In addition, it feels like every week there's a mini winter storm event. The bf and I have ventured to Great Swamp a bunch of times in past month. Rough-legged (that's pronounced legg-ed for you non bird nerds). We've also seen at a great distance some other interesting but I only really enjoy rare birds at a close proximity.
This weekend I attempted to have a stay-cation where I didn't do anything. During vacuuming, I randomly pulled my back. So I'm tending to a sore back. Then I noticed a large puddle underneath the kitchen sick. Turns out the sprayer is leaking and dripping down below. Dad was summoned and he bought a new sprayer which turned out to be cracked and also leaking. Old leaky was put back on and now lives lying in the sink to avoid creating a new puddle below the sink. I can't say that lying underneath the sink did any good things to my back. But I guess that's how it goes.
Aside from the bad weekend events, spring was still trying to get a head start. It broke 50 degrees on sunday and the windows were open and jackets were optional. Given my back situation and attempts at relaxation, I started and finished the daily coyote book. I highly recommend it to anyone.