"In the summer of 1979,
I was Camp Nurse working for the Boy Scouts of America on Treasure Island
in the Delaware River. My “bunk mate” was an older gentleman,
Jim Lanning, a retired businessman from Connecticut. Each morning Jim
rose early, and with binoculars in hand, slipped out of our lodge to canvas
the island for bird and other wildlife. Each morning, I pulled the sheets
over my head and held onto the last few precious minutes of sleep before
I would have to face broken bones, cuts and other minor medical emergencies.
Jim threatened me with the words “one day, you will join me!”
I finally gave in, reluctantly rose and borrowed a pair of his binoculars.
My efforts at seeing birds through the binoculars were a bust. Before
I could even focus on the birds, they were long gone. So I had to rely
on my ears…that is how I learned to bird – I would hear the
bird, Jim would tell me what he saw, and I would quickly open my Peterson’s
guide and connect the sound with the picture. As the summer progressed,
thankfully, so too did my binocular skills. From that summer on, I was
hooked, and have been birding ever since.
Birding is a part of my every day. My home has lots of trees, shrubs and
flowers, a few feeders and a fountain that attract birds and provide them
with food and shelter. Right now, the house wrens are chattering and busy
fixing up their nests in the gourds at the back of my house. Locally,
I have enjoyed Lorimer Park, Skunk Hollow and Bombay Hook. I have also
had the good fortune to bird in other magical places such as Alaska, Belize,
Ecuador and the Galapagos….and will soon be off to Panama. Through
the club, I hope to share my enthusiasm for birding with others and to
be mentored with the passion of my first and favorite birding instructor,
Jim Lanning, who has passed on to another life."
From Mary's 2008 Application