imageAfter an exhaustive two day stint this past weekend totaling 20+ hours, we are officially done with what I coined the ‘nightmare project’!

The weekend work consisted of a layer of landscape fabric to be nailed to the dirt first, followed by 4 inches of paver base pitched away from the porch and down into a channel drain that I cut, 1 inch of leveling sand, 400 concrete patio pavers to be laid and/or cut to a specific pattern, and jointing sand to spread between the cracks.

Friends and family played a key role in getting this completed, and we thank you immensely for your help!  With summer nearly over, we can enjoy the final weekends with a cold one and some grilled delectables. :)

Before and After...

Before and After…

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New Bird Photographed – Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plovers

The quest for new shorebirds continued on the Connecticut coast in May.

I don’t know if we just picked the right shore spots to go on our single day visit to Connecticut or if it is always this bountiful, but new wildlife kept popping up everywhere.

Case in point, while walking along the coast, I ran into 5 semipalmated plovers.  They were surprisingly curious of me as I sat and watched them, and as they inched closer and walked passed, I took some really nice shots.  Here’s just a few of them:

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New Bird Photographed – Least Tern

Least Terns

Least Terns

Once I saw my 200th species of bird, the flood gates just opened up.  While in Rhode Island in May, I got my first glimpse of least terns.  They were pretty far away at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, but I got much better looks in Connecticut, specifically at Long Beach in Stratford.

While walking the beach, a few of them would land on the shore line here and there, so I just hunkered down and waited for a chance.  My patience was rewarded too, with one of the terns landing very close while I was sitting on the sand:

Least Tern

Least Tern

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New Bird Photographed – Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpipers

Purple Sandpipers

I only saw this species on an overcast, windy and partially rainy day from a distance, but I’ll take it!  We left for a Rhode Island wedding extra early back in May to check out the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.

After checking in at the visitor center and grabbing a map, we walked one of the trail loops along the ocean.  We saw a few waterfowl out on the ocean, but it wasn’t until a big gust of wind blew in the only sandpipers of the day.  There were probably 30 or so of them, and it wasn’t until we arrived at the hotel to review my shots until I could ID them.  Purple Sandpipers!

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

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New Bird Photographed – Greater Yellowlegs


Greater Yellowlegs

This year, I spent more time along the Hudson River and the ocean in Connecticut and Rhode Island to fill a large void in my life list… shorebirds!  I’ve always loved sandpipers and plovers, but they aren’t very easy to find around here and when you do find them, they are often far away.

For my first Greater Yellowlegs, they actually flew over me in April this year!  I heard a strange call while roaming the shore at Kingston Point Park along the Hudson River.  When I looked up, four tern-sized birds flew over and never landed.  With the call etched in my brain, I played through the iBird app on my phone until I made the match.  Very exciting moment, but not a very good shot.

While on our way back from a wedding in Rhode Island, we stopped at the Coastal Center Milford Point in May to look for shorebirds.  Not only did I see many new species (more on that later), I saw a lone greater yellowlegs wading in the shallows.  That moment allowed for a slightly better look.


Greater Yellowlegs

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Rebuilding and Reconnecting

Things are continuing to move forward in the form of dusting off my dead laptop and bringing it back to life!  This poor thing is 12 years old, but was a staple in consistent editing and posting of photos.  I can’t afford a new laptop with all the home repairs, but with that winding down, I spent a little time reviving the old one.

As you might remember, one of my last posts was hitting 200 species.  With trips to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Washington, that number has increased quite a bit.  I’d like to share the species I was able to photograph over the coming weeks.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to get back out in the field soon.  It’s been almost two months since I last got out, which might be the longest stretch ever for me.

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Miss Me?

Before & After2Well, I finally have some good news… our nightmare home repair project is finally coming to a close.  As you may know, winter was not pleasant by any means.  It nearly destroyed and collapsed our back porch!

Out of necessity, we embarked on our first major project since moving into our first house in 2013.  The more we worked on it, the more problems we uncovered.  In short, we nearly had to replace everything due to mold, wood rot, drainage issues, termites, etc.  I knew to get this done, we would need to give up everything else to fully focus on our home.

After months or working every possible weekend, it’s finally taking shape.  The foundation has been fixed.  The leaky roof has been fully replaced.  The moldy wooden siding has been replaced with vinyl.  The leaky windows have been fully replaced.  The leaky doors have been fully replaced.  I personally dug out the surrounding landscape and put in a concrete retaining wall to prevent water damage.  A drainage pipe has been put in around the porch.  I completely restored the inside wooden floor by cleaning, scrubbing, sanding, staining and sealing it.  Our rotted wooden patio has been dug out and will be replaced with a stone patio.

So what does it all mean?  You might not remember because its been so long, but I used to take wildlife and nature photos.  Expect a return to that again soon. :)

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