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Short Quest for the Snowy Owl
December 27, 2018

A touch jealous about Marie's colorful reports of the Constantia garden birds, including a juvenile amethyst sunbird, I decided yesterday that South Africa would not monopolize the bird scene. Over the years, North America has yielded quite a few amazing feathered encounters, from New York's hummingbirds and horned owls to Vancouver's congregations of bald eagles. How could I top these? Easy. Find a snowy owl. Neither Marie nor I had ever been lucky enough to see one. The problem is, one does not exactly pull an owl...

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Hummingbirds of Fall 2021, a Summary in Pictures
November 2, 2021

Another autumn is behind us and soon, the snowy owls will be arriving. For now, enjoy a glimpse of these ruby-throated hummingbirds on their breathtaking journey across the continent, feeding non-stop as their wings flutter fifty times a second, their heart pumping at a dizzying seventy-two thousand beats per...

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May 9, 2020

Spotted a few weeks BC*, these two seals sat on a rock in weak afternoon light, dutifully soaking in the invisible waves of a pale sun, a stone's throw from the beach.  Perched Of all places in and around the city, Staten Island has over the years yielded the steadiest stream of cool fauna, bald eagles, ospreys, snakes, deer, groundhogs, salamanders, musk rats and now these adorable fury fluffs.  Adding to this list the dolphins and snowy owls of other beaches, New York City does manage to impress me. •...

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Against All Odds
January 13, 2020

Yes, eight and a half million souls merrily sharing three hundred square miles of prime real-estate is a lot. Way too much in fact, as is the case for any large city. The very notion that I spent seven idyllic years on a Caribbean island almost exactly the size and shape of Manhattan where I personally knew most of the hundred and fifty inhabitants (including a few fish) still boggles my mind. However with some five hundred and seventy-eight miles of shoreline, New York City is blessed with an exceptional aquatic...

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Fox One!
February 18, 2019

Marie and I drove down to the Jersey beaches this weekend on the snowy owl lottery. It was a lovely day, almost spring-like, and a very enjoyable drive both ways. Jersey fascinates us, strange melting pot of extremes, oscillating from bad to great, from odd to quirky, tacky to chilled, industrial to pristine. Working our way down a monstrous highway—seven lanes wide at times, that's fourteen lanes of round-trip traffic—we settled into a fast flow and landed at Island Beach State Park in two hours flat. The park...

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January 16, 2019

Emboldened by my first snowy owl quest, I set out a couple of weeks ago on a southward drive to distant Jersey beaches, yet again following the ebb and flow of crowdsourced reports. It was a wee hour, spur of the moment decision in the middle of a bad weekend night. After a restless stack of bad dreams and worse wakefulness, endlessly tossing and turning in fear of the world's darkness like the Hobbits at Tom Bombadil's, I figured I could make better use of precious time. If I could not sleep, then I would drive. I made...

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