Delaware: Horseshoe Crab Heaven

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Team Kitts Hummock Ready to Start Counting Horseshoe Crabs! - June 2nd, 2016

This year, Hannah Greenberg and I signed up to participate in the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) Horseshoe Crab Survey along the Delaware Bayshore! Beyond the survey, we had a super herpy weekend filled with tons of frogs, turtles, and snakes! Plus, a handful of life birds pushed me past one of my goals for my 2016 Recovery Big Year. … Read More!

Picture Highlights From a Recovery Milestone Week in Birding

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Kelley at the Redden State Forest Headquarters Tract Sign

As I sit down to write up this Recovery Big Year blog post, I feel stunned, shocked, and in complete awe of all that I accomplished this past week. To put the last seven days into perspective, exactly two years ago, I was homebound; too sick to walk, drive, work, socialize, or even get dressed without making myself so short of breath, dizzy, and discombobulated that I’d have to lie flat for hours. The happiness is almost unbearable. I feel so thankful for never giving up the fight, and for being so lucky to have these incredible experiences: … Read More!

Highlights from the 2016 Delaware Bird-A-Thon

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Kelley, Tim, Derek, and Hannah At Our Bird-A-Thon End Point -- The Woods at Middle Run Natural Area

Our 2016 Bird-A-Thon team, “The Aviators,” set out to see 150 species of birds in the state of Delaware within 24 hours. With a forecast of heavy rain and coastal flooding, we weren’t sure if we could make it. Fortunately, the conditions aligned in our favor, and we were able to blow our goal out of the water, making for an extremely fun and exciting adventure! To read the highlights of our day, check out the full story here. … Read More!

The 2016 Delaware Bird-A-Thon: Taking a Stand for Birds and Conservation

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Red Knot by Sean McCandless

If you’ve been following my Recovery Big Year posts, then you probably know that my two absolute favorite things in life are: 1) exploring natural locations and 2) bird watching. In all of this, I am very fortunate to live close to one of the best birding destinations in the world– the state of Delaware. Delaware is the perfect place for birds, birders, and birding. Why? … Read More!

Stone Harbor, Alapocas, and DEEC — Close Encounters and Awesome Birds!

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Kelley at the South Cape May Meadows, NJ - Recovery Big Year 2016

This past weekend was nothing short of incredible– I was lucky enough to explore NJ, DE, and PA, and had some amazing experiences! And the best part is, almost all of it happened spontaneously. Below are the recovery milestones I achieved over the weekend, each of which I am very proud of as a recovering vestibular migraineur! In just two days, I experienced Stone Harbor & Cape May in southern New Jersey, Bancroft Mills & DEEC in Wilmington Delaware, and the Annual Sally Rally at French Creek State Park, PA. … Read More!

Snow Goose Migration Spectacle at Middle Creek WMA

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Zillions Upon Zillions of Snow Geese at Middle Creek WMA, PA

This week, I had set my sights on witnessing the annual Snow Goose migration spectacle at Middle Creek WMA in Lancaster/Lebanon PA. With warm, 60-70 degree temperatures forecasted for the week, I wanted to catch the spectacle before the estimated 50,000 Snow Geese at the lake left to continue their journey to Canada. At an hour and a half away from home, the drive was a bit of a stretch, but I wanted it. I wanted to be able to take myself there! … Read More

Adventuring at Forsythe NWR and Brigantine Island, NJ

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Purple Sandpiper at the Brigantine Island Jetty, NJ - Recovery Big Year 2016

While wrapping up my 2015 Recovery Big Year, I created a map of all the locations I birded throughout 2014 and 2015, to compare my range between the two years. Something I noticed when reviewing these maps was how heavily I birded Pennsylvania and Delaware as opposed to Maryland or New Jersey. In 2016, I wanted to change that. So when Hannah Greenberg and I had a free Sunday, we decided to take a trip over to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey! … Read More

One Week, Two Nemesis Birds!

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Barnacle Geese - Life Birds at FDR Park in Philadelphia - Recovery Big Year 2016

There are dozens of terms birders use to describe the addiction-hobby that is birding, of which ‘nemesis bird’ is one. A nemesis bird is one that eludes a birder despite multiple attempts to see it. In the past week, I’ve been fortunate enough to knock two long-time nemesis birds off my list: Barnacle Goose and Winter Wren. Barnacle Geese were nemesis birds, because as rare vagrants, they’re simply hard to find locally, but the fairly uncommon Winter Wren became a nemesis bird for far more personal reasons related to my struggle with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and vestibular migraine. … Read More

2016 Recovery Big Year – Purpose & Goals

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Kelley Nunn Conducting A Winter Raptor Survey at Port Mahon Road, DE - 16 January 2016

Like last year, the primary goal of my Recovery Big Year is to expand my physical limits through birding. I had great success in 2015, going from bedridden to driving myself an hour. It’s incredible to witness the power birding has over my recovery mindset; the drive to explore, adventure, and bird can motivate me to push myself despite the dizziness and the fog. I am so excited to think about the possibilities for the upcoming year! I have had such a great time coming up with my list of goals and new locations to visit, and am looking forward to sharing them with you. … Read More

2015 Recovery Big Year Recap

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Hiking at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Birding is a remarkably motivating hobby that has prompted me to wake up before dawn to go searching for migrant songbirds, to stand in the gusty winds and heavy rains of a hurricane awaiting bird fallouts, or to scan flocks of Canada Geese for rarities in the chilling snowfall of a Nor’easter. So when it came to starting the process of recovering after being disabled for months from undiagnosed vestibular migraine and POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), looking to birding as a source of inspiration was a natural starting point. I started to think about big years, in which birders push the boundaries of how many species they can tally in a single year within a specific geographic area, and came up with the idea to push my physical limits through birding by undertaking a Recovery Big Year. … Read More

Middletown Christmas Bird Count

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Snow Geese in Flight During the Middletown CBC

Every year, birders look forward to the holiday season for more than just gift giving, as Christmastime means Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season! This year, on December 27th, Bill Stewart, Hannah Greenberg, and I birded a sub-section of the Middletown CBC for a day full of fun, new experiences, and awesome birding! … Read More

The Biggest of the Big Days at Indian River Inlet

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Flyover Forster's Tern at Indian River Inlet

The Delmarva Ornithological Society hosts a series of sea watches at the Indian River Inlet from November through March to count and record migrating sea birds off the coast of southern Delaware. The trip to the inlet was my best bet for reaching my goal of seeing over 250 species during my recovery big year, but at over two hours from home, I was feeling uncertain that I could make the drive. … Read More

Impromptu Big Weekend

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Brown Booby in flight at the Baltimore Harbor, MD

In a single weekend, I was able to reach an exciting landmark in my vestibular migraine recovery; I drove myself further than I have been able to in over a year and a half! Plus, I added three species to my recovery big year total: Brown Booby, Golden Eagle, and Greater White-fronted Goose. … Read More

Hawk Watch Adventure #3: Hawk Mountain, PA

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Me, Sitting on the rocks at the Hawk Mountain Hawk Watch

I had wanted to visit Hawk Mountain for a while now, but the climb to the top of the hill was far beyond my physical capabilities. From the parking lot, the hike is only a mile to the top (which doesn’t sound like much, but requires nearly an hour of uphill hiking). Despite all of my success with improving my physical condition this year, this sort of exercise is still ‘pushing it.’ To add a layer of complexity, the trails are covered in rocks and even boulders, making balance and spatial awareness a necessity. But I knew I could do it; I was strongly motivated by the potential for a Golden Eagle or Northern Goshawk sighting, and the desire to knock “go to Hawk Mountain for the first time” off my to-do list. … Read More