Sunday, December 30, 2012


After waiting a couple of days for the snow storms up north to abate, today we drove to the Adirondacks.  The roads were fine, and the snow was beautiful.
We have a bit to clean off the deck - maybe as much as 2 feet. 
The sides of the driveway are already piled high with snow.  If this keeps up, we'll run out of places to put it again this year. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back to New Jersey

We flew home yesterday and now it is back to home reconstruction.  We had a great time in Sanibel, even if we mostly enjoyed the beach from our nice screened porch, though we did walk every day.  The weather was great (sunny and mid-70's) and it was very relaxing, which is just what we needed.  A note for next time that room 112 at Casa Ybel was perfect.  It was in the next-to-last building in the complex away from the pool and restaurant so it was nice and quiet.  It was in the top floor, which meant we didn't have stairs on the beach-side, but we decided it was nice having no one above us.  And the view was great.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sanibel Day 2

The weather continues to be gorgeous and we are enjoying lazing.  This afternoon we drove the wildlife drive through Ding Darling wildlife preserve.  We saw most of the usual birds, including great egret
snowy egret
little blue heron
white pelican
tricolor heron.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sanibel, Florida

We flew here yesterday and the weather has been perfect, even a little too warm at 80 degrees when we arrived.  Today is gorgeous with bright blue skies, high 70's and light wind.  We took advantage of the good weather and did the guided kayak tour in Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve this morning.  We didn't learn anything new from the guide and the tour was crowded.  It turns out you are allowed to take the rental boats anywhere in or around Tarpon Bay, so we could have paddled the trail through the mangroves by ourselves.  We'll remember that for next time and just rent boats.  But we still enjoyed the paddle
and did see a yellow-crowned night heron that we probably would have missed if we'd been alone.
We are staying at Casa Ybel Resort this time and it is very nice.  Our room is on the top floor center sticking out at the top left in this picture.

I had forgotten that this is where the pelicans hang out, in the trees right in front of our unit.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's Impact on New Jersey's Birds

That is the title of the lead article in "The Osprey", the newsletter of the Monmouth County Audubon Society.  Some interesting facts from the article:
  • Since late October falls between the time when summer residents have migrated and most winter residents arrive, there should have been little direct impact on those populations.
  • It is almost certain that the flooding tides caused mortality among rodent populations, thus reducing the prey base for wintering birds of prey.
  • High winds stripped trees of fruit and seeds sending such wild bird staples as acorns, wild grape, poison ivy berries to the forest floor where snow and ice may put them out of reach.
  • There may be an issue for cavity nesting species like woodpeckers if many of the dead standing trees went down in the storm.
  • Coastal nesting habitat for endangered, beach nesting birds like Piping Plover, Least Tern, and Black Skimmer has been damaged in many places.


Just an update on what has been going on the last few weeks.  We are finally settling down a bit, though there is still a lot of work to be done on the condo.  The molding was delivered today and we'll paint it before heading for Sanibel, Florida on Thursday - YAY!!!  The trip was planned long before the flood and the R&R will be really appreciated.  Then when we get back, the contractor will replace some doors and install the molding.  Then they will be done and we can install the ceramic tile floor in the entertainment room and finish the molding in there.  Then all we have to do is move back into the rooms and get our lives back to normal.  With Christmas coming up fast, we won't finish until sometime in the new year.

Speaking of holidays, we did something completely different for Thanksgiving - we went out for dinner at Rooney's in Long Branch.  It was so nice, we may make that a new tradition. 

Something else we did since I posted last, we picked up our new Chevy Volt.  We are really enjoying driving it, and seeing how much gas we are saving.  We have Sandy to thank for forcing us to get a new car, probably several years before we would have otherwise.  We are leasing it, which is a first for us.  We figure the batteries might not last for as long as we normally hold on to a car, plus the technology should continue to improve.  Who knows what will be available in another 3 years.