Monday, December 28, 2009


The other day when NYC and most especially Suffolk County received so much snowfall I was a bit "jealous". We got no snowfall up here in Ulster County. I was sort of "hoping" that we would get at least 6 inches so that I'd have some surface upon which to...snowshoe. Considering the inconvenience that snowfall presents for traffic, local snow removal maintenance and expenditures...especially during this financial crisis, I guess my desire was somewhat "selfish". In the "old days" when people were used to living more "in harmony with the seasons and what they would bring" maybe my desire would have been more natural. One of the things that I most enjoy about Esopus and The Mount where I live is its closeness to the Hudson River (whose "Birder" I am!!) and this wonderful 400 acre piece of Esopus land that we bought from Robert Livingston Pell in about 1905. Our black Labrador, "Alphie" certainly enjoys living in harmony with nature. She explores our property constantly and is always chasing and "just about catching" squirrels, chasing deer and Canada Geese, learning what skunks "can do", barking back when she hears the distant coyotes yelping, You stay off my turf, she barks back.

Today we Roman Catholics celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents which commemorates Herod's cruel efforts to rid the world of a king he did not understand or want. Today the battle for Health Care and most especially affordable healthcare for low income children and their families. I am beginning to think about not just talking about wildlife, animals, birds and trees on this blog. Or rather I see the need to relating the HUMAN TO THE LIVING NON HUMAN. My workshop, LOVING AND PROTECTING CREATION does not have a purely romantic purpose. We love and protect children, women, the poor...AND our environment for the benefit of all. I am sure our Black Lab Alphie would agree with this!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is a YOUTUBE movie of 5 minutes that I just created. I will be using it as a meditation in my workshop here at The Mount
WHEN?....Saturday, January 23rd
HOURS....from 10 am till 4 pm

Monday, December 14, 2009



Yesterday my LOVING AND PROTECTING CREATION had fifteen persons present. Many of the group belong to the Pax Christi group in our Hudson River area. I got many good ideas from them on where to go with my workshop: ideas for community gardening, taking my talk to schools and churches. I am so grateful for the feedback. I need to keep studing. I include here a good video on the now cotinuing Copenhagen Conference on Global Warming. There are many who deny it. But as the Irish say about the faeries, "I don't personally believe in them....BUT THEY'RE THERE!!!!"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awaiting Winter Benches at Shaupeneak Ridge

These two benches await YOU. Come and enjoy the peaceful Lake Louise on Shaupeneak Ridge in Esopus, NY. It is a great piece of God's handiwork here in Ulster County. Take the White Trail which begins across the railroad tracks from the Esopus Town Hall and Fire House.

Esopus Christmas House

This "Birder" at Shaupeneak Ridge-Esopus

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don Kennedy on Climate Change

As I prepare for the 2nd workshop of mine, LOVING AND PROTECTING CREATION, I share this interesting interview with Don Kennedy who is on the Sierra Club Climate Recovery Project. Sierra Club Radio host Orli Cotel talks to Stanford President Emeritus Don Kennedy about climate change and his role as the campaign chair for the Sierra Club Climate Recovery Project. The program is 25 mins. (You can "skip ahead" if you like to other items as Sierra Magazine Advice columnist Mr. Green reads your laundry list of questions about green cleaning your clothes. Greens Restaurant Chef Annie Somerville is absolutely wild about mushrooms, and after these recipes so will you! Owen Bailey raids the kitchen in search of energy gobbling appliances. And Sierra Club Executive Director Bruce Hamilton talks public policy for an environmentally prudent public.

Don Kennedy on Climate Change & Sierra Club Green Tips

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, December 6, 2009

ROAR (Religios On and Around the River (Hudson)--Part Three

ROAR Statement of Commitment

Recognizing the importance of having both a local and global awareness of issues, and in the context of its mission statement, ROAR is committed to:
• Living out its mission statement, especially in our relationship with the land that we “own” where land seen as subject, not object, fosters decisions based on respect and rights of all, including non-human communities of life
• Networking and partnering with environmental groups and people of faith around key Hudson River Bioregion issues
• Sustainability, especially around Earth’s natural resources, such as water, air, land, and, in particular, with properties “owned” / or used by our Congregations
• Focusing on the following three areas (to be evaluated periodically)
1. River issues, including pharmaceutical concerns
2. Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
3. Land Use issues

Target Population:
• Leadership of Member Congregations, and through them,
• Member congregations of ROAR who then disseminate information and educate their membership. Membership is requested to advocate and address issues.
• Interested people of faith, places of worship, and environmentalists.

Partners who have philosophy and goals similar to ROAR (partial list)
• Hudson Riverkeeper
• Sierra Club Lower Hudson Chapter
• New York State Interfaith Power and Light
• Sustainable Hudson Valley
• Scenic Hudson
• ROW (Religious Organizations on Water)
• Clearwater
• Garrison Institute

General Statement
ROAR and its member congregations have been gifted to live along the majestic Hudson River and / or in the beautiful Hudson River bioregion rich in beauty, natural and spiritual resources. We strive to promote right relationships among all God’s Creation, especially in this area which we call home. The Hudson River calls us to respond to the pressing issues and needs that it and the communities of life, including the human, face and that must be addressed if we are to go into a future that is life giving for future generations. Specifically, we will:
1. Continue to work towards educating ROAR member congregations and their leadership on land use, conservation and easement rights with the goal of preserving land that is owned
2. Inform, educate and advocate for local issues that address: rights of land, water and air; water quality; safety of Indian Point Nuclear Plant; sustainable practices; use of land “owned” and / or used by ROAR member Congregations
3. Strengthen partnerships and collaborative efforts with appropriate national and local environmental groups and people of faith on above issues
4. Plan periodic educational and inspirational programs / workshops / retreats that bring together the membership of ROAR congregations, people of faith and environmentalists on above issues and in celebration of the Hudson River and its bioregion and the Great Work that is being done.

Methodologies that are / will be used:
• Rituals and Celebrations
• Assessment of issues and needs
• Networking
• Advocacy
• Education including experiential intuitive approach
• Ongoing development of and education on “Grounded in the Gift of Our Lands: A Resource Book for Land Use

Celebration of ROAR’s 7 Year Plan
ROAR will celebrate its work and commitment to its 7 Year Plan in a ritual celebratory ceremony during 2010.

Approved by ROAR committee at September 17, 2009 meeting

Religious Organizations in ROAR (Religious Organizations Along River)
Carmelite Sisters
Catholic Worker Farm – Marlboro
Dominican Sisters of Hope
Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Maryknoll Sisters
Passionist Brothers and Fathers of Riverdale, NY
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Sisters of Charity of New York
Sisters of the Divine Compassion
Sisters of St. Dominic, Blauvelt, NY
Society of St. Ursula
Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union, Eastern Province of the US

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ROAR (Religious Organizations on and Around the River (Hudson)-Part Two

Today I continue presenting the 2nd of three parts of the ROAR here in the Hudson Valley. I hope that members of ROAR can come to my workshops, and most especially that I can learn from the ROAR groups here so that Mt. St. Alphonsus, with its wonderful 400 acres, can also contribute to making our earth more sustainable.

ROAR members are grateful for the call by ARC – UNEP to develop a 7 Year Plan. The past and present efforts and future plans of ROAR incorporate many of the elements that are identified in the Guidelines. We see the call to develop a 7 Year Plan as an opportunity for ROAR to respond with greater clarity of vision, renewed vigor, and in mutual support and encouragement with the larger community that is formed through the development of these 7 Year plans.
Since 1996 major initiatives have been:
• Formal and informal education among ROAR members on: history and use of land owned by ROAR member congregations and deepening our understanding of land use and ways to conserve and preserve land
• Networking and sharing information with ROAR member congregations on environmental assessments, preservation efforts and other steps being done to assure sustainability
• Development of ROAR Land Ethic Statement
• Advocating for / educating and assisting ROAR member congregations and other groups to develop their own land ethic statement and land use policy
• November 8 – 10, 2000 Conference, “Bridging Faith and Environment” convened religious leaders (clergy and lay) from different faith denominations to reflect together on the spiritual and ethical vision needed to address the ecological issues of our times, especially those of the Hudson River bioregion. Dr. Larry Rasmussen, author of Earth Community, Earth Ethics, was presenter.
• Advocating Con Edison for the removal of PCBs (by networking and in collaboration with many organizations)
• Education / advocacy on Indian Point issues (by networking and in collaboration with many organizations)
• November 16, 2005 Conference on “Land Preservation: How & Why” at Garrison Institute where religious leaders and staffs of several environmental groups met to address preservation of land, overcoming obstacles and developing strategies for going forward
• Worked closely with Garrison Institute’s Initiative on the Hudson River Project: participated in the Hudson River Conversations; helped develop for Earth Day 2007, Our Shared Nature: A Transformational Ecology Compact for the Hudson; and, several ROAR members were on Hudson River Project Steering Committee
• Published “Grounded in the Gift of Our Lands: A Resource Book for Making Land Use Decisions” (October 2007)
• November 7, 2007 Conference “Listening to Earth and Making Earth-friendly Decisions Regarding Land Use” facilitated by Sisters Margaret Galiardi, OP and Pat Siemen, OP. Invitations were sent to those in religious leadership, parish ministries, land stewardship and concerned about a sustainable future. Conference introduced Resource Book and offered theological reflections and practical applications around land use issues experienced by participants.
• Collaborated and partnered with local and national organizations to address environmental issues around water, waste management, land use, etc.
• Coordinated viewings of “Renewal” with local environmental groups and places of faith
• ROAR member congregations offer retreats, workshops, education and advocacy initiatives in areas of eco-spirituality and environmental justice

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River (Part 1)

I recently found out about ROAR. I have been here one year. I have created so far two workshops on loving and protecting the environment. But here is a group of religious groups who since 1996 have been trying not just to protect and care for our Hudson River environment. But as you will see they are committed to changing the way they live and use things so that, not just our Hudson River, but all of the earth stay healthy for the benefit of all whom God has allowed to live here. I am going to present the ROAR statement and their goals in three parts.

ROAR’s 7-Year Plan for ARC-UNDP

(part 1)

(The Alliance of Religious and Conservation with support from United Nations Development Programme)

Who is ROAR?
ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River), initiated in 1996, is a network of religious Congregations and organizations with property in the Hudson Valley of New York State. Our mission statement follows:

As members of religious communities, conscious of our communion with the land we own in the Hudson River Bioregion, we believe:
• that we share kinship with all creation;
• that human beings and the natural world must go into the future as a single sacred community or both will perish
• and that the ecologically sound care of our lands is a God-given mission.

Impelled by these beliefs and recognizing a time imperative, we come together to:
• support one another in using our lands with an attitude of respect for the beauty and integrity of earth;
• collaborate with each other and learn together;
• address the interrelated issues of poverty, justice, and ecology in this bioregion.

Drawing from our community traditions and experience, as well as from the new cosmology, we will channel our mutual efforts into education, motivation and advocacy. Grounded in the movements of contemplation and action, we will seek to collaborate with others who share common concerns and values. (May 20, 1998) ---to be continued tomorrow

Thursday, November 12, 2009



Ever since I can remember
I have been called.."The river that flows both ways".
This has proved to be quite confusing.
Which way do I turn--North or South?

No, I do not chart the course that I will follow.
That is completely out of my control.
Sun, moon, wind, storms and technology
determine the course I will follow.

Over the course of the years I have
learnt to "go with the flow".
I do not resist what comes my way.
It isn't within my nature to do so.

It is within my nature, however,
to keep my cool no matter what happens.
Only once did I come near to losing it.
You would too if PCB's had come your way!

Overall I lead a full life.
I laugh with those who laugh,
cry with those who cry,
mourn with those who mourn.

My talent, however, is to
offer gentle comfort to those
whose life becomes my own in death.
These I lock in my embrace forever.

Pauline Fornier

Monday, November 9, 2009

LOVING AND PROTECTING CREATION (a workshop on the Environment)

I have a workshop on the Environment that I gave once last month. It deals with the formation of the universe and our earth with all the newest and best scientific information we have on that as well as some most astounding visuals from the Hubbel Space Telescope...But I don't just stop there. I try to show how people who say that they are Christians and followers of Christ are called to protect and love and care for.... THIS WORLD. Because I most firmly believe that , God is not going to throw away or trash this world, but to "transform it to the image of Christ his Son.." So I believe God demands and expects that we CARE FOR, LOVE AND PROTECT ALL THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN US. When I call my workshop Loving and Caring for Creation, I, of course, "give away" the fact that ....I most certainly believe in a Creator. BUT...and this is a very big 'BUT' I believe that God allowed millions and millions of years to pass as our evolving world was being created. I not only "believe" in evolution, but I hope and pray and try to work hard that...we human beings cotinue to evolve. Because from what science and studies on the environment have "tried to" teach us and from what the WORD OF GOD, especially the attitudes and actions of Christ have also "tried to" teach us...we have one heck of a lot of evolving to do. It took us how many years to understand that slavery was wrong? How many more years will it take us to realize that wars and injustice and greed are also wrong.

One of the biggest intuitions that has led me during my years in Latin America and the South Bronx to this Hudson River home to want to be concerned about the environment was that I have seen so many "exclusions" that pain God and us: of different colors and races, of different countries and political systems, of persons of different sexual orientations, of workers, of the poor and need.....THAT I have come to see that "the planet and its life systems have also been excluded from our love and concern. And so I hope that my workshop does something to remedy that:


(a workshop on the Universe, Earth and Environment)

WHERE: Mt. St. Alphonsus

WHEN: Dec 12

FROM: 10 am till 4 pm

Cost: $35 (includes good lunch)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Years ago we had our own name for the mountain ridge that is actually called "Shaupeneak Ridge". We used to call the two ridges, "Sleeping Boy" and "Sleeping Girl". In those days we seminarians had very little contact with the local people. And so, even though we knew that the Lake up there was called Lake Louise we invented Sleeping Boy and Sleeping Girl. Up on Shaupeneak Ridge there was an abundance of laurel which we used to gather and weave into garlands and wreathes for our Christmas decorations down here at what was our Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary. From many years back, right from our beginnings here in 1907 the Gullians, and Armenian family had a beautiful home with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River Valley. "Mom" Gullian, as we called her raised sheep on her property and I think the family made and repaired rugs. Her daughter, Beatrice ("Bea") whose picture is below, can fill me on on this....
At any rate you can see the beautiful view that I had from the ridge of the belltowers of the Mount from the ridge.

Bea Moor on Shaupeneak Ridge


Friday, November 6, 2009


Rusty Johnson (to whose website I have a link below) lives on a house here at The Mount. Rusty is a well known animal handler and falconer. He is an Esopus boy, raised right here in Ulster Park with a great love for animals and wildlife. (Rusty has appeared on the David Letterman Show, done film work with Ron Howard as an animal handler and gives regular lectures on wildlife and hawks at the Mohonk Mountain House near New Paltz, NY). At present Rusty is training "Brisa del Cielo" (Heavenly Breeze in English) on our property with the idea of giving Hawk Walks here. Here is a video with the "Life History" of "Brisas del Cielo" with original music composed by Rusty.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This gives you a "hint" of how truly wonderful the view and the "experience" is at Hook Mountain right above Marydell Faith and Life Center. This is a link to a very neat video of a Red Tailed Hawk stopping on his/ or her way South during Fall migration.



West Nyack State Park on the Hudson River

Mgr. John Kane Hermitage in West Nyack-Marydell


Last week I made a retreat under Hook Mountain in West Nyack, NY. The place is called "Marydell Faith and Life Center". It is still a summer camp location and "used to be" an overnight camp run by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine. It is made up of lovely little cabins and cottages just under the palisade cliffs that tower above the Hudson River just above Tarrytown and just south of Ossining on the East bank of the river. The little hermitage where I stayed was the summer home of Mgr. John Kane, a diocesan priest who taught in High School for many years and was the Camp Chaplain in the summer. They tell me that he was an exceptionally simple, peaceful and good man. There are always, at all times of the year, many Turkey Vultures soaring or gliding over Hook Mountain which is an interesting vantage point during Spring and Fall migration of hawks and songbirds. The preceding posts today show you some of the great scenery of Marydell: 1. Hook Mountain 2. West Nyack State Park along the river 3. One of the cottages and 4. The Mgr. John Kane Hermitage.

Monday, October 26, 2009


whI have been in a very elated mood since yesterday. One of the biggest reasons was that I finally was able to get a nice group of 6 persons together to give the workshop on the environment on which I have worked hard for the last half year. Joan, Kevin, Francisco, Ann, Nick and Dan (my very own brother!!) spent the day from 10am till 4pm contemplating the truly wonderful immensity of this universe and our planet. We used videos, my PowerPoints which represent "lots" of work, music on ecology and the planet and some good shared reflections on how to REFLECT....CONNECT....RESPECT and.....PROTECT our gift of "Mother Earth. I plan to offer the workshop again. And....I also plan to have a complete weekend workshop during which you can stay with us three nights on our Hudson River 400 acre land of THE MOUNT, get to know, touch, identify the trees, plants, animals and habitats we have besides praying together and reflecting on those tasks I just mentioned above. I am most grateful to my brother Dan and to his friend from Puerto Rico, Tato, (Francisco) who helped me "put up the planets" and the other "visuals that i had created. Below I share a very simple YouTube video on the environment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


One of the sources I have read for my workshop on Ecology and the Environment:
Saturday, Oct 4th
Time: 10am---3pm
Where:Mt. St Alphonsus Pastoral Center, Esopus, NY
Phone: 845-384-8052
is Mary Evelyn Tucker and her John Grim from Yale. They show how the different religious groups, for instance myself and other Roman Catholics are "coming alive in our love and desire to connect with the whole living environment"
Please enjoy this YouTube video which is "right down the alley" that I will walk with you this Saturday here at THE MOUNT.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I have been putting the "finishing touches" on my workshop on CHRIST AND FALL MIGRATION for this coming:
Oct 24th
Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat
I will be a good workshop that challenges me and you to have, as Thomas Berry always said: "a mutually enhancing with all people and life systems of our earth"
I have been selecting YouTube videos that reflect what I will share with you who come next Saturday. I like this one because it actually shows a tearful Jesus Christ looking upon what have been the "short term" and what will be the "long range effects" of global warming upon the earth: the suffering it has caused and WILL cause if not combatted bringing pain and sadness to God' s earth. (The sequences are from Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth".)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

'MERCY FOR ME"---Song of the Earth

As beautiful as you may find the pictures I put on here of Vermont in the autumn I continue to invite you to come to my CHRIST AND FALL MIGRATION one day workshop:
Saturday, Oct. 24th
from 9am till 4 pm
Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat Center
Esopus, NY
And enjoy this song about protecting the Earth, our home You can also find the written lyrics on Marvin Gaye's Lyric Page at:

A Nice Autumn Trip to Arlington VT--Mt. Equinox

Last week my friend Norman and I went to Mt. Equinox, VT which is near Bennington Vermont. We spent some time "above the mist", but later enjoyed Shaftsbury State Park and another beautiful lake which is a reservoir along Route 7a which is the scenic route. Out on the island there were a number of large comorants drying off their wings after fishing. And, although our Canada Geese were "masters and mistresses" of the reservoir, we also saw a few Great Blue Herons. (And I "think" I saw an immature American Bald Eagle glide over me just after I took the picture of me with the light that "fortuitously came through the trees behind me". Autumn, with its splash of greens, yellows, reds and browns is a great way to say "Goodbye" to summer and a reluctant "Hello!" to winter.

Moss Covered Rock in Shaftsbury State Park, VT

Lake at Shaftsbury State Park--Bennington, VT

Hudson River Birder at in Vermont Autumn Woods

Wooden Bridge at Shaftsbury State Park, VT

Reservoir near Bennington VT

Friday, October 2, 2009


file:/ This Hudson River Birder reminds you all of my Environmental Workshop which will be here at Mt. St. Alphonsus Pastoral Center starting at 9am on Saturday, Oct. 24th, 2009. I have worked hard preparing PowerPoints on the Universe, the formation of the Universe as well as focusing on our need to respect, connect and protect Earth which is our home. Below are two videos from YouTube that articulate some of the ideas of my workshop on the environment. Please come! There will be a fine lunch. The cost is only $35. I also present this :30 sec video from Jaques Costeau who invites us to PROTECT WHAT WE LOVE. Jaques himself believed and lived what he said. Let's do it too!


The last post I put had a YouTube video on Thomas Berry's ideas on how we need to have a "mutally enhancing relationship with all of Creation". This means, of course, our fellow human beings. But it includes all living things that God has placed here in our "mutual home" On Oct 24the which is a Saturday from 9am until 4 pm I invite those of you who can to come to my "Christ and Fall Migration" workshop. It costs only $35 and includes a fine lunch. In this workshop I will help us to understand our relationship to the universe and our planet earth so that we can understand what we can and need to do to connect with, reflect upon, respect and protect our home...EARTH. I invite you to see this other quite powerful video from YouTube which shows lots of both the benefits of protecting our Earth as well as the sad consequences of not doing this. Watch and reflect.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here at The Mount I have grown in my love of what Thomas Berry and the astronomer, Brian Swimme call "The New Creation Story" On Saturday, Oct 24th from 10am till 4pm I will present what I have studied about the formation of the physical world, showing how truly gigantic and wondrous our universe truly is, and how dangerously fragile our planet earth has become. My workshop will show, as Fr. Berry, Brian Swimme and many others believe that we must do all we can, STOP doing what we should so that our relationship with our fellow human beings of all nations and our relationship with the biosystems that keep us alive....become "mutually enhancing". For me this phrase "mutually enhancing" means in plain English that, "Our wounded planet makes out and we who are here to care for it also make out".
Here below is a video clip that will give you an idea what my workshop is about. PLEASE CONSIDER COMING. The day includes a great lunch, coffee and cookies and is only $35.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


One of the nature documentaries that I will always remember was done, I think, by the Disney people. It was called, "Nature's Half Acre" It was all about bees and bugs and worms and the creatures that are right there beneath our feet. When I was in the Bronx one of my happiest projects were three years of running Summer Day Camps. It is so great when kids can get out in the country and discover birds,flowers, fresh ponds and streams....and Yes...bugs!!!! I remember that there were some kids, mostly but not always..girls, who did not like to be near dirt and bugs, salamanders and the like. I was initially quite misunderstanding about this. But now I know that all people do not have the same sensitivity to the outdoors. But one thing that I most certainly believe that all people, like or not like dirt and that we are "all connected". Those little critters in Nature's Half Acre all have their purpose in the web of life and it is not just to be shunned by the people they disgust or try to bite. They all are important or they would never have come into the circle of life. I say this because one of the easiest things I can do with my little digital camera is take great shots of bees, flowers and bugs. So enjoy.


Shaupeneak Bee' Work is Never Done

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rambing Through Pell Farm on Labor Day

My brother Dan and I took an early walk to the Pell Farm. The Purple Beach, which is one of about four, "may or may not" be 200 years old. Many of these trees were planted by Robert Livingston Pell himself. Or they "may" have been there long before he inherited the farm. They are powerful and beautiful. There is a small cementery with what were probably Pell workers behind what seems to be a "House of Leaves". There are the name Terpenning there. There is one grave to an "AMANDA" who was born around 1732. Fr. Gene takes care of the cementery in the sense that he mows around and up to it. The cementery measures about 30 by 20 feet and has about 7 or eight gravestones, most of them now fallen.

Pell's "Barnless Silo" at Esopus

Pell Farm "House of Leaves"

My Brother Dan and 200 Year Old Purple Beach

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My old friend: "Cedar Hill at Central Park"

In 1997 I was in New York City in September and October on a preaching assignment. On my "downtime" I discovered what was then a very well organized "Hawk Migration Count" which happened mostly on the top level of Belvedere Castle which is right below >"Turtle Pond"strong> and right at the beginning of "The Ramble" which is pretty much the center of Central Park. There I met many professional birders and bird photographers and naturalists as Lloyd Spytylnick, Debra Allen, "Birding Bob De Candido and many others. Today I was with two two gentlemen whom I have known since then: Bernie Nathan and Art Le Moyne. Now "Cedar Hill" which is right above what is known as the "Boating Pond" and leads up to the Boathouse where "The Ramble" begins is the best birding spot in all of Central Park, most especially for seeing warblers during this Fall and also Spring bird migration. In 1997 I spent my Thursdays during September at the morning Hawk Count. On days with a load cloud cover and good northwesterly winds one can see many hawks, falcons on there way south to winter and some to nest. It is a truly splendid sight to see an enormous "kettle" of accipiters or falcons soaring, gliding and spiralling sometimes a thousand feet up in the sky. The picture below is of Cedar Hill where today, even with the 60 degree temperature and the winds sunbathers and others enjoy these "last days of summer". I arrived at the Ramble around 11am and so there wasn't much movement of warblers, just a few Black Headed Blues, one Worm Eating Warbler, a number of Black and White Warblers and some Cedar Waxwings chewing away at the berries near Belvedere Castle. This "Hudson River Birder" began as a "Central Park Birder". I still feel a great love for the "lung of New York City" because that is what this great creation of two great arquitects: Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux truly is.

Cedar Hill at Central Park

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Day at Shaupeneak Peak/ Lake Louise

I have been at Esopus over a year and never visited Shaupeneak Peak and Lake Louise which are just three miles from The Mount. There is a blue trail that goes around the lake, a Red Trail that goes to great views of the upper Catskills and looking due East over the Hudson. There are both black and red birch there. The land is owned by Scenic Hudson, but a West Esopus Trail group cares for the trails quite well. There are didactic plaques on the trails the help one realize how nature can be treated either with respect....or its opposite!.... For this "birder" well I need to kick myself. Because that's where the Worm Eating Warblers nest. There are Eastern Wood Pewees galore, Red Tailed Hawks, Red Eyed Vireos "invisible but vocal as always"....high in the tree tops. It is a wonderful little piece of God's own earth...and "ours too"...right under my nose. I met a very nice retired NYC Fire Captain with his two "well behaved" Irish Terriers: Molly and Kiera...

Shores of Lake Louise at Shaupeneak Peak

Maple at Shapeneak Peak-Ulster Park

Lake Louise


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Robert Livingston Pell Fish and Trout Ponds-4


Recently I received a request from an author doing a study on the Fish, especially trout that Robert Livingston Pell imported from Europe and placed in five artificial ponds that he created on this property when it belonged to him around 1844. Reading the memoirs of the grandaughter of John Burroughs (Elizabeth Burroughs) in a piece she wrote for the Esopus Klyne Museum around 1978, Ms. Burroughs says that "three of the original ponds are still visible on our Mt.St. Alphonsus property. And so I have photographed the three that are just below the 9W entrance on the southern part of our property. Our Redemptorist cemetery is just above the first and 2nd ponds and just across the macadam road from the third. There are two more heading south towards Black Creek. But I could not ascertain if these had also been ones built and stocked by Mr. Pell.

Livingston Pell Fish and Trout Ponds-3



Saturday, August 1, 2009


In 2004 I went on a birding trip to Sumter, SC. There I met a then well known and distinguised member of South Carolina Audubon Society. He was Robin Carter and had written a very extensive, simple and practical Guide to the best birding sites in South Carolina. (Sadly Robin Carter died just last year). Besides taking me on one of his Birding Before Breakfast walks on the river in Columbia, SC, Robin told me about Evelyn Dabbs who lived on the Black River Swamp on the road from Sumter to Florence SC. Since then Evelyn and Tommie have become my friends. On at least three occasions, mostly in early May I have spent entire days roaming their meadows, forests and swamp birding. With Evelyn and Tommie I experienced true Southern Hospitality as have many groups of children, adults and university groups since the year 1976 when Evelyn began doing a study of the migration and population of birds in the Black River Swamp area. I have shared many of my photos of Evelyn and Tommie's wonderful home. Because of a most wise environmental lean on their property its beauty and the vibrant plant, bird and other wildlife will be preserved. Below is a YouTube video I just made on Evelyn and Tommie.

Monday, July 27, 2009


While my two brothers and I were in Ireland last June, we took a very enjoyable day bus trip around the "Ring of Kerry". One of the most interesting stops was up on a mountain where a professional shepherd showed us the many varieties of sheep that exist in Ireland. And he showed us how he communicates with his two feisty Border Collies. He uses, as far as we could gather, whistle signals which include a special whistle signal for each Collie and signals that tell each one exactly what to do: "Move Right!", "Move Left!" "Crouch and menace!" "Sit down" "Run up!" "Run sideways". I am pretty sure that the shepherd also uses voice signals. And I suspect that sometimes the simple movement or position of his shepherd's staff tells the collies where to go or what to do. One interesting detail was the "Crouch and Menace" signal. The sheep see what is the movement of a possible predator when the collies bend down and creep meanacingly toward them. So they move! Here I include a YouTube clip which I wish had been longer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I spent about five hours on the River yesterday...celebrating my 70th birthday. Can't think of anything more enjoyable I could have done on that most pleasant (7 5 degree) day. I went "on board" the Esopus Lighthouse that is being restored and prepared to be a B & B with beautiful views of the East and West Banks and the northern and southern stretches of the Hudson.
Below is the stump of a Maple that seemed to me to be quite old. How many years do YOU think it was?---
Green Buoy #63 marks the Hudson River's channel as it curves southwest at the Esopus Meadows heading towards Esopus Island and THE MOUNT.


Saturday, July 11, 2009


Below you will see (for July 11th, 2009) what I have been able to capture with the "micro" part of my neat Canon Digital camera. There was a wonderful film made in the 50ties by the Disney corporation I think, which was called, "Nature's Half Acre". Because it showed the small bugs, insects, plants, aquatic as well as land, that are truly a wonderful part of God's creation. I don't think there is any harder thing to photograph than a small wind blown wildflower. But it's a challenge for me. The colors do not always turn out the way "I saw it or remembere it", but I hope you can appreciate them....
SOMETHING ABOUT SEIDO KARATE: This weekend of July 9-12 we have 90 members of the Seido Karate people. The founder of the movement whose name is, Tadashi Nakamura , restored the contemplative and virtuous dimensions of karate. The values of respect, cooperation, service and team work as well as the values of meditation, silence, discipline and a dignified life are so very apparent in the Master and the participants. And they had our many groves, mini forests, green lawns and meadows to both meditate, practice and enjoy this land of THE HUDSON RIVER BIRDER.

Seido Karate Weekend at The Mount

Dragonfly on Acre Pond

White Baneberry on Pell Farm--Esopus

Common Fiber Vase Fungus near River