There is enough nature around here to make me dizzy. Seriously, I live just a few houses from the Maurice River, on the western side of the peninsula, the bayside, of southern New Jersey, USA. I am, in a sense, surrounded by expanses of marshes and wetlands, the river, the Delaware Bay, sandy bay beaches, upland forests, pine barrens, and even the Atlantic Ocean, and all the things that live here!
Growing up in a row-home neighborhood in Philadelphia, I was surrounded by sidewalks and brick houses and streets and more sidewalks. But in the tiny postage stamp yard (a very small, teeny, tiny, yard) behind our 12-foot-wide rowhouse was a patch of soil and plants and insects which fascinated me and, when I was old enough, kept me trekking to the library to find out more.
One year my mother planted a tiny crab-apple tree and was thrilled when birds would sit in it. She showed me robins, cardinals, and sparrows. Thus, my introduction to birds began. I will never forget the joy I saw in my mother when those common backyard birds sat in her little tree. (To this day, I do not know where she found or how she transported that tree to our house.)
In 1984, my new husband and I moved down to the Great Egg Harbor Bay area of New Jersey. There I saw a huge bird sitting on a dock for almost an hour with its wings widespread. So off to the library I went. It was my first sighting of a double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). I was hooked. That Christmas my husband gifted me with my first binoculars and life has never been the same.
Nowadays, bald eagles and osprey routinely fly over my rural yard and build nests close enough to walk to, while dozens of other bird species visit my garden and neighborhood. Diamondback terrapins, snapping and box turtles lay eggs in my yard, as do snakes. So many animals and plants make their home right here on my third of an acre that there is not enough time to examine them all. Within a walk, bike ride, or short car ride I can explore diverse types of habitats. While I do still visit the library, over the years I have acquired a bit of a library of my own, and have become quite the Google addict.
This blog is an expression of my photos, research, experiences, and thoughts. Rather than keeping them to myself, I offer them to you. I hope my little views into nature and life will bring a bright spot to your day and perhaps you will feel inspired or intrigued enough to continue looking closer…
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” ~Baba Dioum