.......and Reflections

Monday, May 28, 2012

Life and Retirement Collide with Blogging

I haven't been able to post blogs because I have been pretty busy....busy good and busy not so good. Since my last post I have been jam packed with commitments, some planned and some completely unexpected. I have a lot to post about and I keep getting further behind.

I volunteered for the Black Swamp bird Observatory (BSBO) for the THE BIGGEST WEEK IN AMERICAN BIRDING in early May, guiding and driving participants to wide range of Northwest Ohio locations. It was a grueling schedule but hugely rewarding for both myself and for the participants. The week was beautifully orchestrated by BSBO and for the scale of the undertaking it went as smooth as a baby's behind. I tip my hat to the BSBO staff and volunteers who did a stellar job of showing America just how great community and great birding works together to provide unparalleled opportunities for visitors to have a great and memorable experience.

The week of intense birding ended abruptly when  my daughter had a very serious horse riding incident that left her with a serious concussion and a broken foot, not to mention bruises and abrasions from being dragged along the Township road where the accident took place. The ramifications of her injuries on her Jockey career are still to be determined but she won't be competing this season. Her husband Pancho and I are filling in on the multitude of tasks that Amanda is so used to doing herself. Maintaining a farm operation can be very unforgiving and the beat goes on regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Lately I have been trying to get caught up on the transformation of the Half-fast Farm and the Trumbull County wildlife areas from spring to summer. I stayed home yesterday and spent the day listing all the birds that I could see on and from my property. The list ended at 42 species and could have been 50 if it were not so oppressively hot.

I am pleased to have nesting Blue-winged Warblers and probable nesting Black-billed Cuckoos and Chestnut-sided Warblers. It is a joy to be serenaded each day by Purple Martins, Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks,\, & Red-winged Blackbirds. I can listen to Pileated Woodpeckers, Barred Owls, Tufted Titmice and Eastern Bluebirds from the surrounding woods. I enjoy a blend of grassland, woodland and "fly-by" marsh species and raptors.

Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area and Grand River Wildlife Area are showing their breeding diversity as summer approaches. Some birds are well ahead and others seem to be right on track. Flycatchers are beginning to sing: specifically Acadian , Eastern Wood Peewee and Willow Flycatchers. It will be interesting to watch the patchwork of farming, wetlands and forested areas in this region evolve the rest of this year.

Things seem to be settling down and now I have to work back into my commitment to explore "the middle of nowhere" and write about experiences that you too can enjoy. Life will always be life. I am reminded that it is nature that keeps me balanced. When living has ups and downs, it is nature that keeps me rooted. Birding and nature study has never failed me. It is a constant whenever there is chaos in life. Sharing my adventures will hopefully, encourage my blog readers to create their own escape in the middle of nowhere.

The middle of nowhere is as much a safe harbor as it is a place or an escape. Nature, birding and "the middle of nowhere" has been a significant friend my whole life and career and it will continue to serve me well for as long as it takes for me to meet my ultimate destiny.

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