Erie in Springtime | 5.10.24

Erie in Springtime | 5.10.24

What is there to say about a place where the Warbler Chorus is punctuated by Oriole Arias? Birder’s Heaven? Because that perfectly describes the week in Erie… specifically at Presque Isle. And those Oriole’s? Well, I saw dozens of them… dozens. I have never seen so many Baltimore Oriole’s in my life!

We were in Erie for The Great Migration… and let me tell you. It absolutely is great! And yes, I saw new-to-me birds… still. And that amazes me! I feel so fortunate that we are so close to such a significant migration route!

My brief, but spectacular “new bird” list included Common Yellowthroats, Indigo Buntings, Great Crested Flycatchers, Blue-headed Vireos, Yellow-breasted Chats, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Tennessee Warblers.

But perhaps the best moments of all on this vacation were the hours we included Sherman. I am not sure how many more “vacations” we will have with Sherman. Earlier in April we invested in a Dog Stroller… yes, I have become that person… and it might have been the absolute best part of the trip! He has never liked being “left behind” but since losing his hearing being in his crate really stresses him. But there was no way he could walk as much as we do when we are in Presque Isle… even with the new medication he is on. The stroller made amazing LONG walks possible and their “paved path system” is one that goes all around the peninsula… so we just kept walking! Sherman thought he was in Dog Heaven… all the sights, all the smells, *almost* none of the walking!

The weather was perfect spring weather… some overcast days, some days with light rain, some days with sun… and all days cooler! I watched the trees go from bare branches to new leaves and all the stages between! Presque Isle is a place that is never the same any day but the leafing out was so dramatic and gorgeous to experience!

Carolyn had sent a text about what looked like an amazing exhibit at the Erie Art Museum and I really wanted to go but Steve absolutely did not (and it was not worth an argument, lol) so I missed it… sigh.

I did not take a ton of pictures… I leaned into Margaret Renkl’s wise advice: “How truly valuable is a device that makes you take your eyes from an experience so momentary you might miss it altogether?” So for the most part, my phone stayed in my pocket!

And speaking of phones – and technology in general – perhaps that was the best part of our time away… being truly away. I was not scrolling apps. I was not looking at emails. It was such a good break!

The ONLY thing I regularly used with my phone was the Merlin app… sadly, I cannot hear most birdsong so Merlin telling me what it was hearing was helpful for me to then find the bird with binoculars. Thankfully, that Warbler Chorus was loud and lovely and constant! And those Oriole Arias… unbelievably delightful!

I only had one incident with a tic and it appears I found it before it bit me! Whew! (But I kept thinking “something” was crawling on me for days afterwards!)

But as great as the week away was, it was so good to get back home. This is my last Friday without hearing aids… yes, I go to get them next Tuesday and I really cannot wait!

Thanks for revisiting our Erie getaway! Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

That Steep Re-entry Curve | 5.8.23

That Steep Re-entry Curve | 5.8.23

The vacation was… interesting. There was a significant amount of rain and the beginning was very cold. However, I am very happy to report that my Handspun sweater and newly stitched sweatshirts were PERFECT in every way!

One of us had plenty of things to occupy their time on a rainy day (or days)… reading, knitting, stitching… and one of us did not. So if you are reading between the lines here… I think you get the picture of how some of the week went.

I did more knitting on a vacation than I have done in a long time… (I finished that first sock and am almost done with the second sock…so yeah, a lot of knitting! Ha!) I’d have read more if someone had not been complaining so much… sigh.

I think the rainy days provided some of the most amazing skies! And the unseasonably cold weather that kept the trees from all leafing out made it so easy to find and see birds! And see birds I did! We saw Bald Eagles every day but one… so many eagles! We also saw so many ospreys! Going a week later than we usually go also meant warblers… so many different warblers! I saw 21 *new* birds last week. I saw Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles! Rain or shine, I simply love quietly walking through the woods listening to the birdsong. And PT is a wonder, I was able to do the hike out to Gull Point twice! And walking with walking sticks provides a pretty good workout! (although perhaps that is a sad state of affairs to confess… but gosh I was just so happy to be mobile!)

Despite the weather, I also channeled Vera because I saw so many turtles and although they were not at all easy to catch with my phone camera… I did manage to get one!

One small brave little turtle!

The other very good thing was the “Treat Dispenser” that is now Icing on the Lake… and the cocktails at Cork! (And the food was not bad either!)

All in all, it was a good week… even with the rain! But the Mondayist Monday on earth is Re-entry Monday! See you all back here on Wednesday with some raveling!

P.S. Today my youngest turns 31… how is that even possible?! Happy birthday, Sam!

Erie in 3…2… | 4.28.23

Erie in 3…2… | 4.28.23

I have plans for lots of hikes, birding, and a plethora of good food…. (that is if the weather cooperates… right now, it looks like there will be lots of rain… sigh, lol)

See you all back here May 8! Have a great weekend all!


Presque Isle | 4.29.22

Presque Isle | 4.29.22

As I shared on Monday, I did not take my usual number of photos on this visit to Presque Isle in Erie.

But the lack of images does not diminish the memories…at all. Rather, I think, the lack of photos has sharpened my memories because I spent my time looking all around me, not through the lens of my iPhone.

We stayed at a new Airbnb… and it was a big improvement! Cleaner…updated…with all appliances in working order! Ha! I know, but having a working oven was nice… it meant I could make a frozen pizza…and at the end of a long day of walking around Presque Isle it made for a easy-peasy dinner. It was lovely…and in the back yard was a cemetery. We even had a couple of sunset views from the back yard!

Last June marked the centennial of Presque Isle State Park and it was so much fun to see the gallery of images from the last 100 years at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. We were fortunate to visit on a day with little traffic and a park ranger spent some time talking with us…and I learned something I did not know! In 1966 there was a UFO *and alien* sighting at Presque Isle… and the U.S. Air Force investigators came to…well investigate. The ranger said it was perhaps the most curious bit of history connected with the park. Of course I took a picture and sent it off to Sam (Sam and I have a running Alien Dialog) and he thought perhaps the aliens might have been gathering water, lol! But maybe that is why Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes! Haha!

UFO and alien sighting…oh my!

We spent the better portion of a day hiking out and back from Gull Point. It is still a sanctuary for shore birds and terns and it is a trek, the downed trees make the going… challenging… but once you get out to the point it is just spectacular. We were a bit early for Piping Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderlings. But we saw Caspian Terns, Fosters Terns, Common Terns, and – of course –  lots of those raucous Killdeers!

Over the course of the 9 days we were there, I saw 19 new birds… it was really kind of awesome. And really thanks to the Merlin App, hearing a new bird… and then knowing what to look for helped me to find them more easily in the trees, which were thankfully still bare! Perhaps the best birding though was all the Osprey watching! There are two nesting pairs on the peninsula this year and we saw them almost every day. We even saw them fishing, which was truly spectacular to see! If you have never seen an Osprey fishing, once they have caught the fish they position the the fish head first… streamlining it to make flying easier! It is a fun sight to watch and they are really such magnificent birds!

The weather was cold (and so windy) but I am not upset by that at all. We took advantage of the colder weather to hike in the woods almost without fear of deer ticks…most days it was chilly with a brisk wind (thank goodness for hand knits! ha!) and we hiked so many new areas. A fun trek was the historic trail from the lighthouse to the bay – about 2.5 miles long round trip – and it has a lovely but narrow sidewalk. It was the way the lighthouse keeper and his family got from the lighthouse to the bay where there was a ferry to Erie. The trail now runs along a pond which I am not certain was there when the sidewalk was built but it was one of our easier days of trekking! For such a small space, okay 3,200 acres really isn’t that small, but the terrain is so diverse and we still have not seen all of it! After reading Gathering Moss, I was amazed at how much moss and lichen we saw…everywhere! We also saw lots of evidence of beavers, but never saw one though I looked for them fervently! We were not sure what happened to all the birch trees, but over the winter they all have lost their branches. It was really quite eerie to see.

But perhaps the best thing of all about Presque Isle is what it does to time…it makes it stand still. Really. We would look at our watches and be shocked at how much time had passed although the hours spent there coupled with all the miles we walked say we spent a good chunk of each day there!

Dramatic skies, wild winds, and a spectacular place to wander in made for the best get away. If you live in Western PA… you should head to Erie and visit Presque Isle. It does not disappoint!

On my way to Gull Point!

I hope you enjoyed my brief but spectacular vacation. Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!


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