I’m a freelance writer, naturalist, retired federally licensed bird bander, avid beach bum, former aquarium guide, and a lot of other things.  I inherited my interest in birds from my father, and became a naturalist because I was raised that way. Our family ‘farm’ was 125 acres of woods, fields, swamps, and ponds in what was then a very rural northwestern NJ.  We were safe in those days, and so we were allowed to roam freely on this land.   Over the years, I’ve put in a lifetime of ‘dirt time,’ observing, learning, and living close to the natural world.  I seldom write anymore,  and I no longer band birds, but I’ll always be a naturalist.  I’ve lived in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida…but Florida is where I truly feel at home and where I am now.

My bird banding career started in the 1970s at the Raccoon Ridge Bird Observatory and quickly expanded to include wildlife rehabilitation.  I’ve lived in NJ and spent 10 years in Florida, where I continued to band migratory birds in Sarasota County.   I left Florida for Kentucky in 2003, and ran the Cave Creek Banding Station near the Daniel Boone National Forest.  I returned to NJ in 2006  to  help start the new Raccoon Ridge Bird Observatory, and  banded there for about 3 years before turning the research over to another bander.  I went back to Florida in the fall of 2008, mostly to be near my elderly mother.  I worked at a seabird hospital for six months, until my mother required full-time care.  My mom passed in July of ’09, and I then returned to Kentucky, to the Daniel Boone National Forest, almost 9 miles from the main road.  I love the woods and always will, but I’m a beach bum at heart and so returned to Florida in 2012.  Home at last.  The point of all that is that much of my moving around is reflected in the posts in Natural Notes.

For a long time I abandoned Natural Notes…but occasionally we do need our breaks from most things in life.  2015 went out with a bang for me, and changed my life in a big way.  You can read about it in this post.   I now have renewed interest in writing, and so I’m having another go at Natural Notes and blogging.

I hope you enjoy your visit here.  Thanks for stopping by


9 Responses to “About”

  1. Lou Says:

    I moved to Montague almost a year ago and when the time permits I venture out into the area to explore. A history buff myself, I was surprised to learn about everything that has gone on in this area in the last 350+ years. Today I finally hit the beginning of Old Mine Road by the Milford Bridge and went down past the Dingman’s Bridge. I came across the Westbrook Bell House marker but didn’t head down the path to the house (just yet) I wasn’t exactly dressed for any kind of hiking. Thanks for the pictures you posted that I came across when I googled the house. Now I know that I must head down there this week to explore a little more.

  2. Melissa Says:

    Greetings, fellow birder and writer! I, too, am a freelance writer, though I am more of a fledgling birder than you are. I’m in Utah and enjoy the antics of our western birds. You’re privileged to be so involved with avian life; I’m working to turn our meager urban backyard to a certified wildlife sanctuary. So far, a brush pile (much favored by sparrows and finches) and some small trees that will take much longer to grow up than I would have wished. Ah, well, we’ll still get there.

    All the best!

  3. Giddy Says:

    Glad to see you’re back on the blog! I’ve missed reading some of your adventures.

    My eldest son lives in Dunedin, so maybe one of these days I’ll stop by to meet you!

    Up here in Maine, we enjoy feeding the birds, but are mostly limited to chickadees, nuthatches, doves, woodpeckers, jays, finches and squirrels during the winter.

  4. obi4240 Says:

    Thanks for the comments. Giddy, Dunedin is very close to where I live now, so please do come and visit!

  5. Réal Laplaine Says:

    Hi Laura, I just found your book, Images of America Delaware Water Gap – great composition. I happened across it because I am writing a family tree for a friend of mine, and your book came up as it has about 4 photos that are about his family tree – quite amazing and will be quite a surprise to them that I found this. How can I go about getting those specific photos for use in his family tree composition. The specific shots are on pages 70-71 (Deckers Ferry), page 108 (Rosenkranz Ferry), and pages 109-110 (Peter Treible House). Thanks very much.
    Real Laplaine
    email: Real.Laplaine@gmail.com

  6. John Griffin Says:

    I am am an experienced senior bird ringer trainer (bander) in the UK. I am visiting Sarasota for one month mid Jan to Mid Feb and would like to make contact with a banding group in the area.

  7. obi4240 Says:

    John – I have sent you an email and contacted a friend in FL who can hopefully put you in touch with some banders there. Let me know if you don’t hear from her in a couple of days. Have a great trip.

  8. Tom Schiera Says:

    I’m a fruit and vegetable lover. I’m retired now, but I spent almost twenty years in the food business mostly in produce. I have a blog (www.fruitandveggiesense.blogspot.com). If you have some time to take a look at it, I would be grateful for any comments you might have Love your blog. Thanks, Tom.

  9. Rena Mathal Says:

    Real good visual appeal on this site, I’d rate it 10.

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