Category Archives: Nature

CMBO Century Run Team Report, World Series of Birding 2017

Photo by Clay Taylor of the team.

The World Series of Birding is an annual competition and fund-raiser for nature and environmental organizations in which teams try to see or hear as many bird species as possible inside a 24 hour period (midnight to midnight) and inside the state of New Jersey. It’s held on a Saturday in the first half of May, May 6th this year. It was begun in 1984 by Pete Dunne and others, and the first year there were thirteen teams. This year there were 71 teams and hundreds of participants. Since its inception, the event has raised more than ten million dollars for the organizations involved. Our team, the Cape May Bird Observatory Century Run began in 1987, I believe. My first year was 1988, and though I’ve missed a few years, I’ve participated about 25 times. The event is a mixture of exciting (when you find good things), frustrating (when you don’t), a cool nature adventure, an exhausting experience, and usually lots of fun. Every year a core group of fans and supporters help me contribute to the cause of the Cape May Bird Observatory’s mission of conservation, education and preservation, and I’m glad they were there for me again this year. I could always additional pledges and support, more about that at the end of the article.

Our 2017 team had 14 members. I can’t identify all of them by name, but I will point out this year’s team leader, Brett Ewald, center, in the black jacket. Brett is the new CMBO program director and an expert birder. The two people to the right of him in black and magenta respectively are Kathy and Roger Horn, the team planners, along with Patti Domm (I think that’s her in the medium blue coat second from the left, hope so). Patti works on logistics and with sponsors. Roger and Kathy plan the route, do most of the scouting, and keep everyone on point. To the right of Roger, second from the right, is Karl Lukens, a long-time CMBO Associate Naturalist and co-leader. At far right is Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optics, team sponsor and the one with all the newest high-tech toys and gear. He’s been kind enough to give me some of his photos for this article, which will greatly improve it. That’s me on the far left. Continue reading

Prepping for the World Series of Birding

Tomorrow is the World Series of Birding, and I’ll be participating again this year as part of the Cape May Bird Observatory Century Run team. We’ve been getting hammered wtih heavy rain, and more is on the way, so I’m VERY glad the event isn’t today! There is supposed to be some rain tomorrow, but not nearly as much. I did some scouting Thursday morning in Belleplain State Forest, and tried again this morning, but the rain made it impossible. The weather means migrating birds won’t be moving much, so whatever’s out there now is what we will look for. I’m guessing our total species seen (or heard) will be less than last year’s 134, but we’ll do our best.

This evening after dinner I will do all my prep work: making sandwiches and trail mix, getting all my food and gear together. I’ll be up at 3 AM in order to leave the house at 4:15 and be at the team meeting place in Cape May by 4:45. We will bird from 5 AM until about 9 PM, a very long day, but one I usually enjoy. As long as it’s not horizontal rain and strong winds all day, as happened one year! I’ll report on our big birding day on Sunday. By the way, this is a fund-raiser supporting nature and the environment through the work of the Cape May Bird Observatory, so if you would like to pledge or donate toward our effort, I’d be delighted. Thanks to those of you who have already done so!

Savannah, Part 1

Dave, Ellen, Ann and Zack.

Ellen and I are visiting beautiful Savannah, Georgia for a few days with Ellen’s sister Ann and Ann’s husband Dave. Their son Zack is attending SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and we’re here for Parents’ Weekend, as well as to see and enjoy the city and area and spend time with Zack. We’re staying in half a charming Victorian house near Forsyth Park, the largest of many parks in the city. Continue reading

The World Series of Birding 2017, please help!

My special message and request for Earth Day! Two weeks from today, Saturday May 6th, is the annual outdoor escapade and fundraiser known as The World Series of Birding. I’ve signed up with the Cape May Bird Observatory Century Run team as I have many times in the past. It’s the only fundraiser I participate in. Along with lots of other teams we will attempt to spot as many bird species as possible on that day. The top teams will go from midnight to midnight, and cover the entire state of New Jersey. Our Century Run team’s goals are a little more relaxed: we go from 5 AM to about 10 PM and stay within Cape May County. It’s still an exhausting marathon to test one’s determination and stamina, but usually a lot of fun, too. Each participant pledges a minimum of $1 per species seen, which one can supplement with pledges from friends and family. And that, gentle readers, is where you can participate!

As in the past, I’m encouraging you to make a pledge for my WSB big day, to help me raise funds for the Cape May Bird Observatory, part of New Jersey Audubon, and their valuable mission of conservation, education and research. Current and proposed trends in our government do not bode well for environmental issues and groups, or for the birds, animals, insects and plants we share the planet with, so causes and organizations like this are more important now than ever. You can pledge any amount, but the usual method is to pledge per species seen. Last year our total was 134 species, a little better than average. A more typical total is 130 species. If we tally 130 species, a pledge of 50 cents per would result in a monetary gift of $65. A pledge of $1 per species would mean a gift of $130. As a bonus, I’m offering any of my Signed Prints as incentives: for a pledge of 50 cents per species, the print of your choice, for $1 per species, any two! Higher pledges are welcome and will garner more prints in the same ratio. Pledges lower than 50 cents will get you a signed comics trade paperback that I lettered, my choice, if you would like that. Pledges of any amount down to 10 cents per species are welcome, or if you’d rather make a flat rate donation, that’s fine, too. All pledges will support education about and preservation of New Jersey wildlife and natural resources, as well as garner my enduring gratitude!

Here’s a LINK to my blog about last year’s WSB Century Run, if you’d care to read it. And if you’d like to pledge, click the CONTACT ME link here or in the right column of this page and let me know by email. I’ll be collecting pledges until May 5th. Or, if you’d prefer, an easy way to pledge is right on our TEAM PAGE, just let me know if you’ve done that. Our team will be out there tallying on the 6th, rain or shine, hoping for good weather and lots of migrating birds. Who knows, maybe this year we’ll hit the ever elusive goal of 150 species. That would be amazing!

Alaska 2001 Part 2

alaska-092Concluding a selection of my favorite pictures from our Alaska trip slideshow, recently reconstructed on my laptop. Denali and central Alaska this time. From the final stop on the cruise in Juneau, we flew to Fairbanks, where we took a train to the entrance to Denali National Park. From there, we rode on this bus to the foot of the mountain. Continue reading