Category Archives: PSA

Cape May lineup

Are you in?

So far there’s just Susan, Delia and me.


That’s a very small Flock.

BT3 is speaking on Saturday night.

There’s the Hawkwatch and the Seawatch at Avalon.

Heck… there’s Sandy Hook on the way from the airport.

The Fall Weekend at Cape May isn’t anything like the New River Festival or Potholes and Prairies, but this isn’t West Virginia or North Dakota. What NJ might lack in charm or hospitality, it makes up for in birds.

; )

And high prices, I know.

Don’t let the registration fees dissuade you. Come for a day or an afternoon, even.

We’re making it more affordable this year by staying together in some ramshackle hotel and only paying for a day’s worth of programs. We’ll spend the rest of the weekend wandering on our own, making up bird ID’s and laughing together.

Sounds fun, no?

It’s Cape May… THE birding destination. You know it’s on your list for “someday”… why not make it this year?

The Flock would love to have you join us.

A Jersey stare down

: )

The 7th Annual New Jersey Meadowlands Festival of Birding is scheduled for next weekend, September 11 and 12th. An urban oasis, the NJ Meadowlands is made up of more than 8,000 acres of wetland habitat and is home to better than 280 species of birds. A designated Important Bird & Birding Area, much of the prime birding habitat is situated on reclaimed landfill sites.

Richard Crossley, the author of The Shorebird Guide, is giving the keynote.

Maybe I’ll get him to sign my book, finally.

; )

Hope to see you there!

Mid-week bunny fix

Fair Bunnies!

Lionhead Bunny

Currently quite the rage among bunny breeders, but I sneeze just looking at them.

English Lop Bunny

Those floppy ears can be as much as 22 inches long… kinda silly, I think, but breeders entertain themselves this way.


Friendly 4-H People

Imagine that! I have to commend this group, unlike those at my local county fair, for actually engaging the public and letting us pet and enjoy the bunnies there on display. Usually the bunnies are left to pant for days in the heat, poked at by passerby, for the sake of a blue show ribbon. Getting the bunnies out of their cages where interested folks could touch them lovingly makes so much more sense, don’t you think?

All at once

“All at once
The world can overwhelm me
There’s almost nothing that you could tell me
That could ease my mind

Which way will you run
When it’s always all around you
And the feeling lost and found you again
A feeling that we have no control

Around the sun
Some say
There’s gonna be the new hell
Some say
It’s still too early to tell
Some say
It really ain’t no myth at all…

Nobody really knows
But underneath it all
There’s this heart all alone

What about when it’s gone
And it really won’t be so long
Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singing from at all

There’s a world we’ve never seen
There’s still hope between the dreams
The weight of it all
Could blow away with a breeze
If you’re waiting on the wind
Don’t forget to breathe

Cause as the darkness gets deeper
We’ll be sinking so we reach for love
At least something we could hold
But I’ll reach to you from where time just cant go

Cause what about when it’s gone
And it really wont be so long
Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singing from at all”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Jack Johnson song is here.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Images lifted from here. It’s a painful watch, but the least we can do, I think.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research is a somewhat local organization that’s directly involved in mitigating this mess we’ve made. It’s also where my small donation is going.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’m sharing some of the most arresting (and heartbreaking) images I’ve seen thus far… and wondering at all the fumbling and finger-pointing that’s going on while wildlife suffers. Why wasn’t there some sort of plan in place… I mean, couldn’t this type of disaster have been foreseen?

We nearly froze, but…

A poor photo of a lovely group of people…

The Monmouth County Audubon Society sponsors free monthly walks, regardless of the weather.


This day, early last month, we nearly froze to death at Sandy Hook, but saw Long-Tailed Ducks, Common Eiders, lots of Harbor Seals basking in the sun, and an Iceland Gull.

I’ve been responsible for planning these field trips for a couple years now and so have developed a sense of who our customers are… mostly beginners and plenty of kids dragged outdoors by their parents… plus there’s Marty.


Marty (pictured far right, smiling) is a regular on our field trips, yet I’ve never seen him at any of our monthly meetings… curious, that.

Our next scheduled outing is Saturday, March 28th at Monmouth Battlefield State Park (Marty will be there, I’m sure!)… after that it’s Saturday, April 17th, again at Sandy Hook for Osprey, Piping Plovers and other early migrants…

We’d love to have you!

The next IATB

IATB #119 is here next week sometime… the 18th to be exact.


I need to get a handle on this, I think.

(mild panicking)

THE bird blog carnival is coming to Somewhere in NJ.

(deep breath)

I’ve studiously avoided it for years, but it’s my turn, now.

(another deep breath)

If I’ve not contacted you directly to ask for a submission, it’s only because I don’t have an email addy for you. So I’ll make it easy… send me something wonderful and birdy (by 2/16) at


I’d like something vaguely poetic or literary or rambling…

(typical of what you mind find here)


The current edition of IATB, # 118, is up at Ben Cruachan’s Blog.

Have a look and thanks.


Review: A Walk Through the Memory Palace

Poetry is something, I think, that just happens.

(and this isn’t properly a review… more just some personal reactions to a bunch of poems)

A moment that moves or inspires; a shared experience or perception gifted between poet and reader.

I’m always slightly on my guard whenever reading a new poet… sizing up the words before me to assess what, exactly, I’m getting myself into.

Do you approach poetry that way, too?  Still?  Like a poem is something you need to puzzle over in order to pass 8th-grade English?


A certain amount of ambiguity will lure me into the poet’s hand, but I’ve no need of sitting for a half hour sweating over the meaning of any particular poem to try and understand it or enjoy it.

If a poem works for me, I’ll know it pretty quickly.

On my first reading of the ten poems in Pamela Johnson Parker’s A Walk Through the Memory Palace, I was most taken by the first:

— – — – — – — – — – — – —

78 RPM

Dusk and three minutes
Of fading light,
Pale as moonflowers,

Muted trumpets now,
Drawn up tight as those
Parasols propped in

The corner of your aunt’s
Screened-in side porch, which
She calls veranda, where

White wicker bites
Through your white cotton
Shift, as she lifts a disk

Of black scratchy “wax,”
Places it on the Victrola,
Says, I’ll be back in

A shake, you two, and
Disappears inside.
As the heavy arm angles

From left to right, as
The stylus traces
Its sapphire finger

Down the record’s groove,
As he skates a single
Finger along the sun-

Bleached down of your
Arm, and as you
Start to shake,

Heart rising and
Falling like Billie’s
Song, cool water poured

To the top, brimming,
Then spilling silver
Notes, and his lips

On yours for —
The stylus bumps
Its paste-paper

Center; you hear
The screen door’s
Thump against its

Frame, hear Aunt’s
High heels tick
Across the porch.

Here’s something
For this heat
She says, handing you

Each iced tea: beaded
Glass, mint and a
Paper umbrella

Blooming, a drink he
Grasps quickly and gulps.
You’ll have to keep your

Knees pressed tight together.
As the light dims.
As the record changes.

— – — – — – — – — – — – —

I loved the way those opening lines invited me in and left me waiting for whatever might happen… waiting for the knowing smile I came to by the poem’s end.

Did you smile there too, at the very end?

There are other poems in the chapbook that touched me, through subsequent readings, but I don’t want to give them all away. I would suggest only that you find a friend who’s willing to read them aloud to you… poems are better shared that way.

(That’s how I best enjoyed them anyway.)

Incongruous as it is, this poem will always recall for me a sweet chili set at a slow simmer, a practised voice pausing in all the right places while I cooked, and the *necessary* translation of the German phrases (cause, you know, my mother’s maiden name wasn’t Von Oesen or anything similar.)


— – — – — – — – — – — – —

Some Yellow Tulips

Old Mrs. Sonnenkratz, there in her yard
Bent over like a bulb herself, works hard

To edge her sidewalks, salt the slugs, and spray
The aphids from her roses. Every day

She’s pruning, pulling, plucking, weeding out
The strays that might be festering. No doubt

She loves her lawn, loves order, symmetry
Of seedlings, herbal borders; she would be

Ruthless to seeds gone volunteer, to Queen
Anne’s livid bruise, half-hidden in its green-

White froth of lace. Today, her turban slants
Askew over her blue-rinsed hair; her plants,

Once straight as soldiers on her patio,
Are blitzkrieged out of order, the yellow

Tulips (three days blossoming in a vase
Atop her wrought-iron table) don’t erase

Her frown, her sloppy slippers, or the brown
Age spots (about the size of dimes around)

She often hides with gloves. A jagged scar
Runs up her forearm, where the numbers are.

The tulips, like her, blowsy, need to go;
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’s on her radio.

She thinks, Acht nicht, acht nicht, nacht musik…
Their leaves are lances, and they slant, oblique.

The tulips stems outlast their showy flowers;
For years she plants by day and, at night, cowers.

The yellow of the petals starts to burn;
Perhaps the worst of absence is return.

She smokes and shakes and smokes. Each flowerbed’s
As neat as graves. She stubs out ash. The heads

Of these tulips wore bright turbans, tight-wrapped
And now unwrapping. In Berlin, she was slapped:

Sie ist ein Jude… Dry-eyed in Dachau, how
She’s crying over bulbs bloomed too far now.

In a world of absence, presence leaves a scar.
Each tulip’s ravelled to a six-point star.

(for Lilo Mueller)

— – — – — – — – — – — – —

“Now that’s a good poem!”


Many thanks to Dave and qarrtsiluni for the opportunity to review this, their first-ever, chapbook contest winner.  The book is available for purchase at the Walk Through the Memory Palace website, but you can also read the poems or hear them read by the author at that link. Do have a listen… especially to this one… Engendering: For Two Voices… another favorite read by the poet and her husband.

Let me know what you think? Any *work* for you, too?