2014 – Year in Review

It was the most challenging year we have lived through to date.  An unrelenting winter, homeownership, and overall life instability really took us to the breaking point.  In between all of this madness, we also had some unbelievable outdoor moments mixed in.  Let’s review, shall we?

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Quick Review of 2014

It’s been several months since I’ve been able to even think about Local Exploration and wildlife photography.  2014 was the hardest year I’ve had to endure on so many levels, I can’t even get into it all.

However, I was able to spend some time outdoors and even get off the east coast, so it wasn’t complete doom and gloom.

I also made a promise to myself to spend more time with my photography in 2015, and to prove I was serious about this, I replaced my 12 year old laptop (which was pretty much useless last year and contributed to the lack of posts on the blog).

I am looking to write up my typical ‘Year in Review’ in the next few days to test my new laptop.  Hopefully, this will lead a more normal posting routine and a resurgence in my love for the outdoors.  Hope everyone is still out there!

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New Bird Photographed – American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

What do you know… another new bird seen for my life list in Connecticut back in May!  Again, this was at the Coastal Center at Milford Point, Connecticut.

While scouring the coastline for shorebirds, I came across my first american oystercatchers I’ve ever seen.  They kept their distance as I walked along the beach, so I stopped and waited to see if they might come back.

Sure enough, they flew in a little a closer just long enough for me to nab a couple of good photos.  Enjoy!

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New Bird Photographed – Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plover

It seemed like a near endless variety of species when I visited Connecticut this past May!  Once again, the new species was a shorebird that was mixed in with other species – the Black-bellied Plover!

The hotspot?  Still the Coastal Center at Milford Point!  While most of the birds in the mixed flock were ruddy turnstones and dunlin, there were maybe 8 or so of these plovers.

Hopefully I can plan some more Connecticut time for next year.  If I can get all this in a single day, what would a few days bring?

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New Bird Photographed – Short-billed Dowitcher

Short-billed Dowitcher

Short-billed Dowitcher

Funny story about this species… I didn’t even know I spotted it until I reviewed the pictures I took in May!

I ran into a mixed flock of shorebirds at the Coastal Center at Milford Point in Connecticut, which was prominently comprised of ruddy turnstones, dunlin, and black-bellied plovers (another new one for me, more of that later).

I took plenty of photos, but I didn’t realize that another species was mixed in until I reviewed the shots later that night.  In a few of the photos, there was a smallish sandpiper with a fairly long beak, which turned out to be a Short-billed Dowitcher!  I’ll know for next time to scan over ALL the birds in a mixed flock the next time I encounter one.

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New Bird Photographed – Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

Connecticut continued to be a great place in May to look for new species I’ve never seen before.

At the Coastal Center at Milford Point, I found a mixed flock of shorebirds and terns sitting just off shore.  Many of them were new sightings for me (more on that later), including this common tern.  This tern was a little bit bigger than the least terns, plus the beak and legs were a little more red.

The tern only stayed around for a little while, and it was the only one I saw during my visit.  Sometimes though, that’s all you need!

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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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