February 2009 Archives

North Carolina and Back

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Valentine's Day 2/14/2009

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
We left the house today early early! 7ish. We forgot to bring the paperwork, doh....

The drive through Massachusetts and Connecticut was uneventful. We stopped at Rian's Deli for bialys, which just hit the spot at around 9am. No traffic to speak of into NYC and over the George Washington Bridge. Into NJ and onto the Garden State Parkway. We planned to go down the Jersey Shore, veering off from the mainland below Atlantic City. Having the Atlas was not enough for these sailors. I wanted to know what the harbors looked like, the inlets, were those bays navigable? We will have to examine the charts when we get back home.

Finally onto the barrier beach, at Ocean City. We followed the ocean drive south, and stopped where we liked. We saw a Red-throated Loon just south of Ocean City, amongst numerous gulls. Further south, we found a Hooded Merganser male with 4 females, Common Mergansers, and Red-breasted Mergansers, along with many Buffleheads and Brandt. In Stone Harbor after the bridge back to the mainland, we stopped at a Wildlife Institute. Saw a Northern Harrier hunting, a Great Blue Heron, many Red-winged Blackbirds, House Finches, American Goldfinches, American Blacks, and Song Sparrows.

Such fun.

We found our motor inn, the Hyland Motor Inn, in Cape May Courthouse, had a lovely supper at the Bellevue Tavern, and are now ready for a good rest.

Marina Del Rey

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Spring is coming. Shovels down. Kites up.

Norm made a trip to Marina Del Rey in the Los Angeles area of California. Interesting place. Six thousand boats in one marina park/city/sailing center. The trip was related to the American Sailing Association's Instructor Evaluator Summit.  

Norm is an ASA Instructor Evaluator.  Within the past four months he ran two ASA Instructor Qualification Clinics in Nanny Cay, Tortola using the facilities and boats operated by Rob Swain Sailing School.

A view of a small part of the Marina
The Marina Del Rey Hotel as viewed from the YC

The ASA conference was OK.  Had a lot of interesting conversations with senior sailing instructors from all over the USA.  Some real offshore guys mixed in with the inland lake set.  Memo:  don't mess with the Great Lakes!  

The ASA Affiliate in Japan was there.  Yoh Aoki showed some slides from his record setting cruise around the world aboard a 21 footer of his own build.    

Rhode Island Nature Day 2/2

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Today we drove down to a couple of our favorite spots in Rhode Island, for walks and birdwatching. Norman Bird Sanctuary and Sachuest Point, both in Middleton.
At Norman, we saw the usual suspects, first at the feeders at the Nature Center, and then along the walks. Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals. We headed down to the pond, where we spied a raptor. Word was that there is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk in the area, so we suspected this was the bird. After the pond, we took the Woodcock trail, which runs through the woods. The ridge trails were too dangerous to consider, what with all the snow and melting ice. We kept to the flat land. One of the very interesting features of this area is the local stone called puddingstone. It is a conglomerate rock, with pebbles and stones in a fine matrix. The puddingstone in Rhode Island truly looks like pudding, with a softness to the shape. Frequently, the "pudding" is pressed into long tubes, which look an awful lot like cookie dough.

On the way back to the center, we again saw the juvenile Red-tail, this time with its prey, an unfortunate robin. Such drama!

After our walk at Norman Bird Sanctuary, we headed toward Sachuest Point. This wildlife preserve is sandwiched between Sakonnet Point and Newport proper. It is the winter home for Harlequin Ducks, which were our quest for the day. We met some folks that had also come out for the same reason, to see some Harlequins. One man and his daughter had been successful, and gave us detailed directions to the exact cove the ducks could be found.

We headed off on the loop walk backwards, and sure enough, we saw one, then two and three. One male was not more than 30ft away from the shore, as we continued our walk. We also saw American Blacks, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Buffleheads.

On our way back to the parking lot, we saw two raptors flying over the field. One was almost definitely a Northern Harrier. The other had been identified by a jogger as an owl, but I didn't get a good enough look to confirm. The Harrier was doing, what else? harrying the opposition, so there was a great deal of activity far off across the high grass in the scrubby trees.
Really! I got a break from teaching sailing in the BVI for Rob Swain Sailing School and came North to see Elizabeth. The first full day home, it snowed and I got to shovel some of the white stuff. That was fun.
First things first. Spread out and make a mess. Do laundry.  

Second thing:  Go out for a Winter walk with Elizabeth.  We hiked around the bird sanctuaries in Ipswich, MA and Portsmouth, RI.  One of the highlights was seeing a Red Tail Hawk capture and eat a Robin.  

Settling in to a newly arranged room, clean laundry, and a long list of to-dos.  Not the least of which has been to keep the driveway cleared of snow.  

Afternoon sunshine reflects strongly off the snow covered fields.
The vacation week continues, with Friday looking to be a perfect day for some more snow-play. We headed off to Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, in Topsfield, for some birding and snowshoeing.

Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, not shy at all. We had brought some black-oil sunflower seed just in case.

Other sightings included a Marsh Wren, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, White-throated Sparrows, American Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Pine Siskins at the feeders in the observation shed. I had hoped to spot some Golden-crowned Kinglets down at the arbor, but alas, we saw none.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.34-en