Keeping a Vigilant Eye on the Coming New Year


Monday, January 1, 2024,

Happy New Year, friends. I wish you all the best. This is a pair of photos I took just yesterday. As far as I can recall, this is the first time I’ve ever posted pics of myself here at Joe Kayaker. And now, you can see why.  🙂

The little beauty beside and atop me is Marigold. She’s the newest Possum that I am helping to train to become an Animal Ambassador at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, New York. Marigold is a doll and very human-friendly, although it did take a bit of work to get her there. This poor orphan was the runt of her litter. In fact, she was so small that after just a few weeks, her brothers and sisters were twice her size. Her siblings will all be released, but this little girl is just too petite to make it in the real world. Happily, for her and for us, she is acclimating to life at Sweetbriar.

Yesterday was the first time I walked around with her on my shoulder. Before then, we’d been cuddling her in our arms or letting her snuggle into our hoodies. However, if I’m going to take her into the yard to see the world and greet folks, she needs to become comfortable on my shoulders or chest. Luckily, Possums are amazing climbers and clambering about on a biped presents few challenges for these wonderful marsupials. JK.

A Green Darner at Lido Beach

Wednesday, October 18, 2023,

This is a rather cool-looking dragonfly that I encountered at the Lido Beach Passive Nature Area. I had stopped there after visiting Nickerson Beach, which is practically across the street. Both locations offer a great deal to any intrepid nature lover, but the two places are quite different from each other. It’s amazing that these two fairly differing ecosystems are so close to each other. Perhaps, we’ll discuss those differences in a later post. This post is about this dragonfly.

I had travelled many of the paths at the Passive Nature Area. There’s a lot to see, including several differing habitats. I had seen numerous Herons, Ospreys, and at least two different types of butterflies. I was trekking back to my truck when I came across this beauty. Dragonflies can be somewhat skittish, so after getting the above shot, I carefully circled around for a different vantage point. I managed to work myself to its right without disturbing it. However, the first view was pretty much the same as the second, and I still didn’t know what it was. I mean, I knew it was a dragonfly, but I didn’t know what kind.

Luckily, I know people who know stuff. In almost every instance, if I come across as knowledgeable, it’s a safe bet that someone has coached me. Honest. In this case, it was my friend Michael Farina, who is a Conservationist at the Marine Nature Study Area. Mike is a great guy and really knows his stuff. I reached out to him, and he was able to identify this critter for me. It turns out that this way cool dragonfly is a Green Darner, possibly a juvenile male. How cool is that? I hike around with a camera, and my friends tell me what I’ve captured. Thanks, Mike!  JK