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Tuesday This & That: Tiffany Haddish Shouts Out Patty Jackson, Kobe Bryant Remembered, and LesbiVeggies

Hey guys, hope you’re well, keeping warm and connected with loved ones. It’s Tuesday, it’s been a while since I’ve done an around town column. Sometimes I just end up doing these tidbits on Social Media, but I need to get on the ball and collectively put them here as well for those who only follow me here. Lately I have really gotten into this new App called Clubhouse. It reminds me of an AOL Chat Room for business, and late night gossip. Tiffany Haddish is always lurking around offering good chatter and funny moments. Last night we made a connection, I’m one degree separate now, LOL.

Last night legendary DJ Patty Jackson who just celebrated her 39th anniversary in radio, was a trivia question in a room last night in the new Clubhouse APP. Actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish answered the question without missing a beat. PATTY IS A LEGEND!! That was so awesome. Sign up for Clubhouse, it’s still in beta, you have to have an IPhone, and currently there’s a wait list, although it goes quick.

January 26, 2020 is a date we all rmember, the day Kobe died. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that tragic day, one of those days where we all know where and what we were doing when the news broke. I was at a birthday party with a bunch of journalists, who stopped what they were doing to call into their respective stations for their next assignments. The mood as you can imagined, turned to shock and disbelief after I announced quietly to people what had happened. Condolences to his family and to all who loved and admired Kobe Bryant. Here’s a link to a few stories.

A new vegetarian eatery is opening close to Philly, in Audubon NJ, right next door to Splitting Hairs where Jodi Clark cuts my hair, every two months cause I’m kinda bald. ANYWAY I read about LesbiVeggies cafe which will open in February, offering creative, locally sourced, plant-based fare . Check out the article at the Courier Post about the new cafe at 112 W. Merchant St in Audubon, NJ. About a 20 minute drive from City Hall.

Chat with you tomorrow. HughE

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2014: Qatar Airways Philadelphia Launch Gala

2018

With the conclusion of 2020, brought the end of a decade 2011 – 2020, and wouldn’t it be a good time to recap some of the best of the best parties, and events I covered over the past decade. The glamour, fun, outrageous times, the charities, the fundraisers, the night life. I yearn, as you all do for the end of the pandemic, when we will all be able to dance again. It is not lost of me of those who won’t be able to join us, and they are always on my mind and in my prayers, whether they passed away from Covid19, violence or something else. Thank you always for your support, and the support of the many businesses, charities and our communities. Looking forward to better times in the future, towards a more perfect union. – HughE

I always keep those people in my prayers whether they’ve passed from Covid, violence or other means which cut their lives short. I need to say that so I can move forward, as I was stuck for awhile wanting joy in my life. I had to really seek guidance to move forward in this space. Thanks for always supporting me and my content.

Qatar Airways Philadelphia Launch Gala

In the past decade several airlines have held fabulous parties to launch their new runs from Philadelphia. One of the more elaborate was held on Thursday, April 3, 2014, as Qatar Airways hosted the grandest of galas to celebrate the launch of their new non-stop service from Philadelphia International Airport to Doha, Qatar.

Venue: The Ritz-Carlton
Food: 10 Arts
PR: Cashman & Assocs.
Guests: 300 invited, hospitality, scenesters, political, media

Maria Papadakis (now Konopka) was the Emcee

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, hosted a glamorous gala last night at the Ritz-Carlton to celebrate the launch of new, non-stop service from Philadelphia International Airport to Doha, connecting the Philadelphia region to Qatar Airways’ network of more than 130 destinations worldwide.

The red carpet was rolled out for the exclusive guest list, which included the who’s who of Philadelphia’s society, city officials, business and tourism executives, media personalities and international dignitaries.

Lauren D’Orisio, Nigel Richards, Mike Jerrick and Nicole Cashman. (Cashman & Associates handled the Pr)

Laura Burkhardt, greets a member of the Boyz II Men at the step and repeat. (A step and repeat banner ie press wall is a publicity backdrop used primarily for event photography, printed with a repeating pattern such that brand logos or emblems are visible in photographs of the individuals standing in front of it.)

Jane Golden and Hope Cohen
Erik-Newman, Mary Dougherty, Jim-Cuorato and John Saler
Rina Cutler and Alan Greenberger

After a cocktail hour in 10 Arts, where white-gloved servers passed around delicious hors d’oeuvre and cocktails as guests enjoyed a cirque du soleil performance, the nearly 300 guests were led to the ballroom one floor below, for dinner, music and the program, which ended with a performance by Philly’s own Boyz II Men.

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The Best Bernie Sanders Presidential Inauguration Philly Memes

Oh Bernie, what a good sport. Wednesday Bernie Sanders Memes took over the world, and yesterday Philly got in the meme. He joined Carrie Minelli, Kory Aversa and I at the Love for dinner last night. Thanks to my hubby Mike Toub for inviting Bernie to dinner.

Ralph’s Italian Restaurant

JAWN

Here’s what Bernie Sanders thought, and where he got his mittens from; they weren’t your ordinary wool mittens, of course.

You came, you saw, now get the shirt

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The Socially Distant Beer Hall We All Need Right Now

Parks Pop-up Debuts This Weekend at Fairmount Horticulture Center

Starting Friday, January 22nd at 4:00pm, Parks Pop-Up will debut a new indoor dining experience at the Fairmount Horticulture Center Arboretum at 100 N. Horticultural Drive. The 30,000 square foot unique indoor space will provide ample opportunity for social distancing. Patrons will be able to enjoy fresh food, beers on tap, wine and hot beverages inside a lush greenhouse environment with comfortable chairs, and clean restrooms.

The Parks Pop-up offers families a unique destination in the colder weather where they can get out of the house and partake in safe and socially distanced activities. A portion of all Parks Pop-Up sales will benefit Philadelphia parks.

Reservations are strongly encouraged, with each table currently being limited to 4 people in compliance with local safety mandates. Additional seating is at a first to come – first to serve basis. The pop-up will also have outdoor seating weather permitting.

Masks must be worn at all times except when seated at a table. Contact information will be taken from all guests, to assure contact tracing can occur if it becomes necessary.

Season hours for the Parks pop-up at the Fairmount Horticulture Center Arboretum will be Wednesday to Friday, from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 10:00pm. Please note that hours and days of operation may change due to weather and special events. Please visit @parksontap on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates.

For more information about Parks Pop-Up, visit /www.parksontap.com/parks-popup.

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Take Charge of Your Life

Not on my diet, I wrote last week when I reposted this delicious looking Philly pretzel, a pretzel cut in twos like a sandwich cause it is, a delicious looking bacon, egg & cheese sandwich sold at the new Row Home Coffee shop in Rittenhouse Square. Obviously my readers have good taste as well by the likes on this photograph. For many years I would run over and try such a delight, especially after an invitation as I got from the Row Home Coffee folks. My response, polite but a no. I’m trying to lose weight.

I was once skinny, in fact downright anorexic. Here in 1994 with Mike, and the guy who “introduced” us Rich Liu (we both attended his graduation party and met there), I weighed 155lbs. It’s Mike’s fault, I fell in love, was happy and gained weight, isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? No idea who took this photo, but it cracks me up cause it’s as candid as can be, not one of my favorites, but I kept it.

In this post I won’t be doing my before, currently before photos, but maybe down the road a bit. OK it’s the New Year, and it’s going to be the New Hugh, again, because there is no shame in trying again, and again. With each passing year I attempt to return to healthy, I have made some in roads. It’s hard as you know, especially during the pandemic, cause food is so comforting, and exercise is work.

A few months ago my client GlobalFit, a leading workplace health and wellness technology company, told me about one of their companies the Charge Group virtual nutrition group, an innovative and rapidly growing provider of insurance-funded workplace health and nutrition program. I wasn’t ready to experience it. I wanted to eat freely, ignoring my ballooning weight and high blood sugar. I’m sure my readers were upset, since 2 years ago I announced I was at my wits end with my health. At the time I did get it under control, my numbers came down, I was happy, and then the pandemic occurred and everything went out the window.

Last week I took the first step in taking charge of my life, again. This time with a registered dietician, and the best part it’s virtual, I can do this, even when life returns to normal. I like talking to someone about food, the issues regarding food, I like having accountability, it’s like a therapist for food.

I signed up last week and was paired with dietician Catherine Perez. She went over the services with me, and explained how the insurance supported, one-on-one nutrition counseling services work (my insurance IBX covers 6 visits, a year, and if you want you can pay $75 a visit not covered. That is definitely worth it for me, they have reasonable package programs as well if it’s not covered by insurance as well.) CHARGE is an in-network provider for most major health plans. We were on the phone for more than an hour, and she knows more about my eating habits than anyone. You can trust them with your secrets, which they’ve heard before and will be able to provide you with guidance to reach your goals. BUT with everything, you are your biggest advocate. You need to be honest with yourself, or this won’t work.

Just like many of youse, I’ve tried many programs before, most are great, but they just didn’t fit my lifestyle, which is lazy and convenient, this feels like a good fit. At the end of the 90 minutes I had the foundation and tools to help me achieve my goals, this time. I love they have an online food diary, and a daily goal worksheet. Catherine can see it. This week wasn’t perfect, but I’m on a journey. Come with me, on a fantastic voyage. I’ll be posting here weekly on my progress, I’ll be honest, I honestly want to get healthier, feel better, fit in the chairs at Butcher & Singer, see a show at the Forrest Theater, or need help getting me up after crouching down for a photo at a concert etc.

Sign up process for individuals interested in CHARGE

Below are the 4 steps to sign up:
 Confirm Insurance Coverage

o Fill out a short form to let us know you’re interested. We’ll confirm that your insurance
plan covers nutrition coaching.

 Schedule 1-on-1 Visit with your Registered Dietitian

o If your insurance covers this service, you will be prompted to schedule an initial visit
with your Registered Dietitian.

 Login To Your Nutrition Portal

o Once you schedule your first visit, you will receive an email with login information to
access the CHARGE portal.

 Meet Your Registered Dietitian

o Let’s get started! It’s time to crush your health goals.
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Sneak Peek at Live! Casino Hotel Opening 2/11/21

All photos were taken by me, unless noted: Courtesy of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

Yesterday was Media Day at the long anticipated Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, the $600 million project, provided an exclusive media sneak preview of Philadelphia’s premier gaming and entertainment destination will open Tuesday January 19, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. with a series of reservation-only preview days for Live! Rewards Club members. Following the preview days and pending approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Live! Casino Philadelphia will open to the general public on Thursday Feb. 11 at 8:00 p.m.

“We are beyond excited to go Live! in Philadelphia and bring this world-class gaming and entertainment destination to the heart of the Stadium District,” said Joe Billhimer (c), Executive Vice President, Cordish Gaming Group. “What we have created here is unrivaled anywhere in the country. Sports fans, foodies, gaming enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a night of fun and excitement only has to make one stop to experience it all.”

I’m feeling those chandeliers. Nice touch.

Courtesy of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia
At Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, we have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and our Team Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. One of the coolest safety protocols they have is when a customer sits at a slot machine, automatically the machine on their left and right shuts off. Now that’s safe.

Signs, signs everywhere there’s signs, and I like it. I hate when I have to ask somewhere where something is. These escalators go to the 2nd floor event space where there is a six-room Event Center featuring 15,000-square-feet of customizable meeting space to accommodate groups of 12 to 1,000 guests. It will be ready by the time the casino opens in February. I hope to shoot a lot of events there in the future.

Courtesy of Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

State-of-the-art, industry-leading FanDuel® Sportsbook with lots of TV’s to watch your favorite games.

The hotel lobby of the luxury, 12-story, 208-room Live! Hotel. To the right is the entrance to the Prime Rib restaurant. You can also enter it through the casino floor. First let’s go upstairs.

Where you will pass this incredible art work, in fact Live!! has filled their casino with beautiful works of art, most inspired by Philadelphia. This piece is made of a tiny square boxes, each with inspirational sayings like 2020, Positive Energy Always Causes Elevation, Your Fear is Full of Shit, Dead Fish Go With The Flow, Be, Family Over Everything, Nothing to Prove, Everything to Improve; it’s just spectacular and my favorite No One Can Handle A Leo. Then the middle of the art work features photos of Philly buildings, which help to make up the photo of City Hall. Pretty incredible. My tour people didn’t know who the artist was, but I will find out the artist for us.


Now riddle me this, I know why there’s not a 13th floor, but where is the 14th floor?
The penthouse rooms are spectacular, with unique views of South Philly, the sports complex and the City skyline, on a clear day you really can see forever as there are no other buildings blocking your view.

Dining and entertainment at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia

  • Sports & Social Philly – The venue will feature a FanDuel Sportsbook and Lounge retail location and state-of-the-art AV system, including a giant 52-foot LED display and 24 televisions for ultimate sports viewing. An American Grill menu with game day favorites, including a short rib cheese steak, local beers, and specialty cocktails.
  • Luk Fu – Authentic flavors of Southeast Asia, a private dining room and private Karaoke rooms. (photos above)
  • 10th Street Market – A food hall inspired by the great food markets in Philadelphia where guests will be able to enjoy a wide variety of food, as well as a bar open 24/7.
  • Lorenzo and Sons Pizza – A South Philadelphia staple since 1970 and one of the 101 best pizzas in America as rated by The Daily Meal.
  • Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen – A traditional noodle bar featuring classic noodles and dim sum selections.
  • Termini Brothers Bakery– A South Philadelphia bakery serving cannolis, cookies and more for nearly a century.
  • Two new venues from Emmy award-winning Chef and TV personality Guy Fieri (The Mayor of Flavortown!!) – Guy’s Burger Join and Guy Fieri’s Taco Joint.

The Prime Rib – The top Zagat-rated steakhouse previously located in Center City Philadelphia for more than 20 years now has a new home complete with a piano to entertain as you dine.

It’s gonna be fun.
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Stay: Ocean Resorts Casino

Good morning. Thanks for bearing with me as I missed a few days of posting. I wish you all well, and appreciate you being a part of my day, and thank you for being subscribers. Those of you who follow me on Social Media know I went to Ocean Resorts Casino over the Christmas holiday. I felt it was safe, our plans were to just hang out in the hotel room with its magnificent views of the ocean, as every room has a view of the water, whether it’s the bay or ocean.

I specifically asked for a high floor, ocean view and I was not disappointed. It was so relaxing. We were on the 40th floor, facing Brigantine. I would say that the dozen or so times I have stayed here, whether it was Ocean AC or formerly known as Revel, I always stayed on this side. In fact I stayed in this room a day before Super Storm Sandy’s full force hit the area, and witness the North End of the boardwalk get destroyed. AC did a great job at restoring the boardwalk as well as the North End of AC, with new residences. They still have a ways to go, but it’s a start.

BTW this is the view looking south, which you would see if you stayed in one of the rooms on that side of the hotel, or lucky us, in the elevator lobby. Yes they have windows in the elevator lobby. In fact Ocean AC even has windows in their casino. I love to go there as I never feel lost inside, as there is always a window nearby which gives me a sense of openness as well as direction.

At the east end of Ocean AC are massive escaltors which connect several floors of the hotel/casino including the hotel floor, casino floor, restaurant and shopping floors, event space floor and the boardwalk entrance. It’s a site to behold and my favorite spot, but don’t look down. And for those afraid of heights, they have elevators as well.

When Mike and I arrived at Ocean AC, we noticed all the Covid19 Safety Measures in place, and although we both already had it, we were glad to see they took it very seriously. Also was glad that all guests had masks all at all times, everywhere. Check in can be in person, or via a touchless system. The desk clerks were great, as was all the staff throughout the building. It was a joy to be there. My plan was to spend 3 days and two nights at Ocean AC and not leave the property, it’s exactly what we did.

Most of the time we spent in our rooms, looking out the window and catching up on reading, actual magazines and books, not the internet. We also visited the fish tank in the hotel lobby. There are seats surrounding it, and its extra zen as it’s raised a few steps above the floor.

We also spent a good amount of time eating, and were not disappointed. Every place we ate at in OCEAN AC was delicious. For dinner the first night we ate at Zhen Bang, a Chinese delight. The decor was pretty as well, very bamboo, clean and cozy. It was a little difficult to find, but just follow the Wahlburger signs, as it’s across the hall. Christmas morning we headed to Café 500, but it’s only open to 1PM, so don’t plan a late brunch. They were nice and let us sit at 12:55pm. dinner we enjoyed a delicious dinner at American Cut Steakhouse Mike also ate at Distrito as well. I was happy he was happy, so I could play a little Willie Wonka, my favorite slot machine.

Ocean AC has shops as well

We had such a good time catching up on reading, enjoying the view and just relaxing. This shot was on Christmas eve, during a Nor’Easter. It was the most fantastic experience watching it from the safety of our room. I can’t recommend Ocean AC enough for a getaway. It was safe, relaxing, delicious and we even went out to the sky garden, where they have fire pits and a great view of the Atlantic Ocean. Originally I was going to book the hotel via HotelTonight (my favorite site for last minute hotel stays), as I saw a rate of $88, but since I wanted a specific room I booked through the hotel website at $119 (it’s the off season). After writing to request about the specific room, Ocean AC recognized me as a previous media partner and comp’d my stay. Thank you so much. It was just what I needed, and what Mike realized he needed. We can’t wait to go back, to this view and the great hospitality extended to guests at Ocean Casino Resort.

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2021: New Year, New Hugh and other Musings

Happy New Year. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I spent the weekend at the beach again and it was very peaceful. I’m seriously getting into nature and wildlife photography. I can’t wait til it gets warmer and get out of the car more to explore. It is nice to explore in the car as well, it speaks to my lazy side.

I made a trip to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge again. The word has gotten out, it was fairly crowded on 1/2/21, but manageable. I really like this spot as you can do the 8 mile wildlife loop, as well as head back to the parking lot of walk the many trails. Remember to pay the $4 daily fee in the honor box. This is a great family fun, friends or even a great date. It takes about 2 hr to how many hours you want to do the loop.

OK let’s see what happened in Philly while I was away for the past week. Last month Rob Wasserman announced the opening of “The Lodge” at Rouge! An inspired ski lounge outside the tony Rittenhouse Square Rouge restaurant is all the rage. I have been there myself so I can attest to it’s posh, fun, atmosphere as well as it’s decadent hot chocolate.

Speaking of Alex Holley (looking hot in her club attire), she and her co-anchor Thomas Drayton debut their new show “The Feed at Night” on Fox29 last night at 11:30PM. It’s a news/pop culture show featuring what’s happening on Social Media. Kinda like following their social media streams, but now you can see it on the big screen and explained. I definitely saw a few things I didn’t see while scrolling SM this past week. They also have a virtual audience. I see you Grandpop Holley and Ray Smeriglio. BTW yesterday on Good Day the co-anchors presented their 2021 resolution board. Thomas Drayton wants to expand his real estate company, what he sells real estate? Not only that but the Drayton Young Group is the number one seller in Moorestown. Congrats!! Karen Hepp is pursuing her real estate license. Maybe it’ll be Drayton, Young Hepp by the end of the year.

Alex (r) is just going to be her peppy fun self, although she’s going to work out more and eat healthy. I hear her friend NBC10’s Miguel Martinez-Valle (l) is starting Whole 30. My sister did that, I recommend you give Miguel a lot of space the first two weeks, processed food and caffeine withdrawals can make a fella a bit grumpy.

The two photos above were ones I took over the past year, and my editor at Philly Metro used in her column yesterday
Editorial: Face the facts, masks save lives

Finally Thanks So Much for this awesome Christmas Card. It’s true I couldn’t locate Mike’s present for a week cause it got lost in my squalor. I know what your saying, didn’t you de-clutter last spring. It’s true I did, but now I’m doing it again. Like my diet, and healthy life style, it’s a work in progress. Stay tuned for #newyearnewhugh

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Thank You 2020, Now Leave

Thank you Front Line Workers, including health workers, restaurant workers, fast food cashiers, gas station attendants, so many minimum wage workers, SEPTA employees, people who work in my building, everyone who has to deal with the public, teachers, parents, those who have faith, hope, who believe in science, who believe in things that can’t see, who believe in kindness, those who spoke up, the brave people who marched, or grabbed a broom, worked a food line, who amplified, who supported businesses, restaurants in the blistering heat, to the frigid cold, thanks to my clients, to the PR folks who have hired me this year to shoot their events, to the media who have run the photos I’ve pitched to them, to the Gov’t for unemployment, for the Gov’t who made difficult decision, to so many of you, thank you.

Thank you to all the photographers who have captured the City. We are resilient.
Thank you to those, who like me, see a bright future for Philly. We are only on pause.

As dismal as 2020 has been, growth has occurred, eyes and ears have been opened and a brighter future is on the horizon, I just know it.

In conclusion, I want to thank you, to my readers, for your support. Who write me to thank me for shining a light on Philly, you kept me going even when I couldn’t see the light and suffered countless battles with depression, loneliness and isolation; as so many of us have experienced these past few months . Thank you for your prayers when I came down with Covid19 so early in the year; I was scared and your kind words gave me hope. I am so blessed to have survived. I am so saddened by those who didn’t make it, especially more than a half dozen people I knew. Thanks so much to my husband Mike of nearly 27 years. He is a rock. We’ve spent more time together in the last year than the 26 years which had gone before. He constantly teaches me patience and unconditional love. That’s not easy with moody me. Happy New Year, I have hope.

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Christmas Eve Bird Watching and a Snowy Owl in South Jersey

Snow Geese

Happy New Year, actually I’ve been saying “Happy Better New Year!!” It’s hard to believe this year has gone by so fast, yet so slow, painful, sad, with so much loss. I lost a dear friend this week to Covid19 – Abana Jacobs, who worked at Subaru in the environmental department. Each day she promoted recycling, and reuse; she was so enthusiastic while doing so. I’ll miss her so as so many people will as well in our area. The Cherry Blossom event in Fairmount Park will be dedicated to her this spring I’ve been told. I wasn’t able to visit my family for the holidays so Mike and I headed to Atlantic City for rest, relaxation and re setting at Ocean Casino Resort ie the former Revel (I’ll write more of that trip tomorrow). Before we checked in we headed to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge for a little bird watching, especially the elusive Snowy Owl. I often go there for bird and wildlife watching all year round. I was just there 12/10 looking for the snowy owl.

I had been tracking the Snowy Owl for about 3 years now. A rare sight around here as the Snowy is a native of the Arctic, Canada and upper North America. About 3 years ago a few have been sighted in our area. Most of the time they were sighted on the beach in New Jersey between Sandy Hook and Brigantine, and most of the time you really have no idea exactly where to look as those seeing them keep it a secret as to not draw attention to many gawkers (I have been fortunate to have other birders give me locations, but I didn’t want to trek out on the beach in 30f weather, lol). But last year, and earlier this year there had been sightings at Edwin B. Forsythe in Galloway Twp. (Which is about 40 minutes from Phila, and has a car touring loop. You don ‘t even have to get out of the car to see the wildlife. Most of these shots I took with just the window down)
I knew I had a better chance of finding him there as I knew the grounds better there since taking up bird watching, wildlife photography about 4 years ago, getting more serious about it in the passed two years.

I did have grand plans to arrive early, Mike even got up at 530am in anticipation. But I was still doing research about which birds had been sighted where in South Jersey, so as to create our itinerary. Someone had seen the Snowy Owl at the preserve, and as luck would have it even arriving 5 hrs later, I was able to see the jolly fellow. And look at the smile on his face, he was happy to see us.

I found him by noting the dozen of cars parked at one spot, with lots of lenses poking out of the window.
Breeding Male Buffleheads

Northern Pintails car pooling
It’s so beautiful and peaceful to drive on the loop, even on the busy days. I was surprised how beautiful it was even when the grass turned brown during the cooler months.
A the blue goose surrounded by snow geese. Hundreds of snow geese flew over us, you should see our car. We’ll have good luck for years.
Shore Birds. Someday I might know their names. (Thank you Jack Carter for informing me about what birds these are: dunlins ) In the meantime I’ll continue to take their photos for us to enjoy. Have a great day and make sure you look around, you too will see beautiful birds around you.