Monthly Archives: September 2012

Taking a Chance Aboard the Monte Carlo

The next morning I got up early and headed to the Westport marina where I boarded the Monte Carlo.  This 50-foot vessel is used by Westport Seabirds to take birders 35 miles out into the Pacific Ocean to Grays Canyon, a deepwater feature on the edge of the continental shelf.  By 7am we were casting off and heading out to sea.  Fog enshrouded the vessel for a while, but we broke free into the sunlight a couple miles out and were treated to a day of nice weather and calm seas.

We soon came upon some birds of the open ocean, like Sooty Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, and Northern Fulmars.  These birds are members of the order Procellariiformes, pelagic birds that include petrels, albatrosses, and shearwaters.  They are sometimes called “tubenoses” because they all share extra tube-like openings just above their bills, as you can see on this Northern Fulmar.

These tubes lead to an olfactory-sensing organ, giving these seabirds a remarkably good sense of smell – useful for finding food out on the endless ocean. After a while we spotted our first Black-footed Albatrosses.  Black-foots considered “small” for albatrosses, but they still boast 7-foot wingspans.

In the distance, we spotted a fishing vessel, and our captain headed towards it.  Many pelagic species often follow fishing ships hoping to pick up scraps, and as we approached we saw Pink-footed and Sooty Shearwaters, many albatrosses, fulmars, and a herd of California Gulls.

We threw out some fish scraps of our own, and were soon surrounded by tubenoses.  The albatrosses came right up to our boat.

On the way back, we spotted a number of new species, including Sabine’s Gull, South Polar Skua, and a jaeger.  Motoring back into the Westport harbor about 4pm, we passed a huge flock of Marbled Godwits roosting on the breakwater.

Although we didn’t spot any super-rarities, the excellent viewing conditions, calm seas, and mostly cooperative birds made for a very successful trip.  And best of all, we didn’t have engine trouble in the middle of the ocean, like my more adventurous SoCal pelagic trip back in July.

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Jetty Walking

It’s September, and shorebird migration is in full swing.  Sandpipers, plovers, phalaropes, and godwits are winging their way south.  After spending the breeding season in the high Arctic tundra, these little guys are traveling south, some heading all the way to New Zealand!  If you want to catch them as they whiz by Washington state, the best place to be is the outer coast.  I recently headed west to Grays Harbor County for a couple days to see what I could dig up.

My first stop was the Hoquiam Sewage Treatment Ponds.  Nothing gets your blood pumping like the morning fog burning off above an azure lagoon of poopy water.  Awesome.  I tallied a number of good birds, including a couple of dozen Pectoral Sandpipers (like the one pictured below).

I also tracked down a Ruff, a rare Asian stray that ended up on the wrong side of the Pacific.

I love the sign posted here.  For MOST people, the “no trespassing” part would be completely superfluous, but serious bird watching need that extra encouragement to STAY OUT.

My next stop was Ocean Shores, specifically the Point Brown jetty at the southwest tip of the peninsula.  I timed my visit for the hour before low tide, because I wasn’t just going TO the jetty, I was going out ON the jetty – close to the end.  It was foggy, but I clamored up the rocks and started picking my way out to the tip, several hundred yards distant.

Many birds are habitat specialists.  Pectorals and Ruffs are perfectly content to walk around in shallow water through the mud and sand, but other species of shorebirds prefer the rocky coastline.  These “rockpipers” use their sharp bills to pry mussels, snails, and barnacles off the rocks while dodging the waves crashing around them.  If you want to see rockpipers, you need to visit the rocky shore habitat, and the Point Brown jetty is one of the most accessible areas of such habitat around.  Of course, “most accessible” is a relative term.  You still have to climb over huge boulders through the ocean spray and bird droppings, and make sure you are off the jetty before the tide rises.  At least one unfortunate birder was washed off the top of the jetty when caught unaware of the rising tide.

About halfway out, I began to catch glimpses of my target species through the fog and spray.

A group of Black Turnstones was milling around, catching a bite to eat and resting on the rocks.  Further out, I saw a Wandering Tattler and more Turnstones.

After about an hour, I was near the end of the jetty, surrounded by Turnstones, Tattlers, and the appropriately named Surfbirds, who were dancing in and out of the powerful waves crashing against the rocks.

At this point I decided to head back in, as low tide had passed and the water would begin rising soon.  I hit several other shorebird hotspots in the afternoon, finding a nice array of adult and juvenile sandpipers in all states of molt.  Most birds shed their feathers in the fall, growing new ones which sometimes show different colors and patterns than the ones they wore in the spring and summer.  The molting birds can take on quite interesting appearances.

I headed to bed early, because I knew what was in store for tomorrow: Monte Carlo!

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East Coast Wrap Up

 

 

 I’ve been back from the East Coast for more than a week, but I’ve been a bit slow updating my blog.  It was a very successful trip, and I enjoyed poking around some new and some familiar places.

Total bird species: 144

Total miles driven: 1481

Total miles by ferry: 17

Total miles on foot: 50

Favorite Place: Higbee Beach in Cape May, NJ

Most amazing morning: Seeing thousands of warblers at the “hot corner” at Bluff Point State Park, CT (Sept 16).  Some other birders wrote up their experience that morning here.  I was standing next to them against the fence (first photo on their page) for a while.

Best birds: Lesser Black-backed Gull, Saltmarsh Sparrow, & White-rumped Sandpiper

Biggest Miss: Buff-breasted Sandpiper & American Golden-Plover

Biggest pain in the @ss: sitting on sharp rocks at Hawk Mountain trying to identify distant specks (is that a bird or are my binocs dirty?)

Best food: The Gyro Plate at Yorkside Pizza, New Haven, CT

Unexpected thrill: Poking my head into the little classroom where I first learned Organic Chemistry.

 

Most out-of-place birds: Monk Parakeets, building a large stick nest in a CT park – aren’t you guys supposed to be living in Argentina??  [Feral populations have been established in many urban areas along the East Coast.]

Least Favorite East Coast Things: Tolls.  Crazy, crazy, tolls.  And crazy east coast drivers.  And driving on the Cross Bronx “Expressway.”  I guess I’ll stop complaining when I have to pay $3.50 to cross the 520 bridge.

Anyhow, it’s good to be back in Seattle.  I’ll be in Washington state for a while, visiting local schools, hanging with my little people, writing some college rec letters, and trying to track down a few more birds.  More later….

 

 

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Yale

Up until this point, I have focused most of my Big Year on observing the natural world and seeing birds and other wild critters.  But as Labor Day passed, and schools all over the country have resumed their academic schedule, I have started to think more seriously about the other half of my Big Year: the search for good teaching.  I have to say, I’m not entirely sure how to approach blogging about good teaching and good teachers – there is an element of privacy and discretion that I want to consider carefully.  I also don’t want to  set myself up as some kind of judge or arbiter of what is “good teaching” (and conversely what is not!).  But I also want to share a few of my musings and thoughts on the matter as I visit various schools and teachers this year.

Yale is a bit of an odd choice to begin my exploration of good teaching, considering that I am primarily interested in teaching at the secondary (i.e. high school) level.  And while there are some excellent professors at Yale, many of them are known more for their expert scholarly research than for their teaching prowess.  But I was passing through the area, and felt a strong attraction to return to the place where I first discovered my own passion for teaching.  It would also give me the opportunity to interview one of the most influential teachers in my own life, Dr. J. Michael McBride, professor of chemistry.  For the past several decades, Dr. McBride has taught a freshman organic chemistry course, one that I took myself in the early 1990s, and later returned to as a senior to help tutor struggling students.

This is Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, the building where I learned chemistry at Yale, and the place where Dr. McBride still keeps his office.

While McBride’s class did include most of the concepts you’d find in a “standard” organic class like stereochemistry, nucleophilic attack, and resonance stabilization, he also spent a great deal of time trying to teach more fundamental lessons.  A major theme for the course is “How do you know?”  And not just how do you KNOW, but HOW do you know, and also how do YOU know?  Professor McBride shared with us a historical perspective on how we know what we know in science – a perspective that renders insight into how science operates, and what is “good science” and what is not.  There are “no rigid rules about what constitutes good science or bad,” he said, which is why it is so important for students to “develop good taste” for what makes convincing evidence.  Dr. McBride hopes that as a result of his class, students will learn to “distrust assertions” and instead make full use of their reasoning abilities and knowledge of science.

Another thing that made Dr. McBride’s class different than many other organic classes was his emphasis on learning the basic tenets of quantum mechanics and molecular orbital theory.  While these topics seemed mind-blowingly sophisticated to our 18 year-old brains at the time (and of seemingly little relevance to organic chemistry), we soon began to see how they could be used to truly understand organic structures and reactions on a deep level.  With a solid appreciation for MO theory, we didn’t have to simply memorize the dozens and dozens of basic organic reactions – we could predict and intuit for ourselves what would happen when two molecules react.  This approach turned out to be immensely powerful, not only for learning organic chemistry, but more broadly to convey the idea that the natural world is built on logical, understandable truths.  And if you are able to master these truths, you can understand and accurately describe a great deal about the world around us.

Anyone can watch the lectures associated with the first semester of Professor McBride’s course – they are available through the Open Yale Program here.  And while only people with a deep interest in chemistry will likely be interested in the session on “Stereotopicity and Baeyer Strain Theory,” almost anyone might enjoy his opening lesson on “How Do You Know?” or some of the later ones on the historical development of chemistry.

I spent a couple of days at Yale, visiting old professors and mentors, touring the campus, and even coincidentally running into one of my former Lakeside students on the way to her research lab in Sterling!  My walks around campus also allowed me to reflect on what I thought “good teaching” was when I first started down the road to being a teacher myself in the 1990s.

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Hawk Mountain

Hawk Mountain in eastern Pennsylvania is one of those famous places in bird watching circles that all serious birders eventually visit.  September is a good time to go there, so I worked it into this trip.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a private reserve in the Appalachian mountains, near the town of Kempton, PA.  It is well known as a hawk watching site, and volunteers there keep an active count of the number of raptors which pass by the ridge.  In an average fall season (September to November), counters tally about 18,000 hawks, eagles, and falcons!

I paid my entrance fee, and hiked the mile or so through the woods up to the North lookout, which is the principle hawk watching location.  The hike up was quite pleasant; the forest was beautiful, and the sunny morning had a touch of autumn crispness.  I stopped to study an eastern Hairy Woodpecker, which was bright white and black – as opposed to our pacific northwest Hairy, which is light gray and black.

Along the trail were numbered markers, but no corresponding interpretative signs.  Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has gone all 21st Century, using QR codes to store the trail marker information.  If you are not familiar with QR codes, you can see an example of one in the photo below (it’s the pixelated square).

QR codes are like traditional bar codes, but they are able to store information in a more dense way (in 2-D instead of just 1-D).  They are readable with a bar code scanner, or with any smart phone that has a camera and a bar code reader app (I use Red Laser on my iPhone).  Advertisers often use QR codes to encode web addresses (URLs) so that interested customers can use their phones to go immediately to an ad’s website.  But out in the woods on Hawk Mountain, you might not get cell service.  No problem!  QR codes can encode lots of different kinds of information, not just URLs.  When you scan the QR code above, your phone’s app decodes the information and reveals the clear text (no internet connection needed):

Pretty cool, if you have a smart phone.  But kind of a bummer that not everyone can read the “signs.”  Gives me some ideas for a science lesson though when I get back to Lakeside….  By the way, you can check out more about QR Codes on Wikipedia (that page has some cool example pics!).

Back to the hawks!  Why is Hawk Mountain such a good place for observing raptors?  Well, these birds of prey are moving south, and they want to do so in the most efficient way possible.  Unlike many songbirds, most raptors tend to migrate during the day, taking advantage of rising air thermals.  The sun warms the land below, creating updrafts – especially along mountain ridges.  The raptors can use these updrafts to rise high in the air and to carry them along on their journey.  Here’s a sign from the trail:

So if you position yourself on a mountain ridge from mid-morning to mid-afternoon and look north, you have a good chance of seeing some migrating hawks.  Finding my first one was easy!

Finding the next ones were a little more challenging.  I made it up to the North lookout, and found a rock to sit on not far from the official counters.  There were already dozens of other people hawk watching.

Hawk watching is different than most other kinds of bird watching because most of the time the birds are quite distant.  You usually can’t see most of the normal field marks – the color of the legs and tail, the exact pattern on the underwings, the shape of the bill, the color of the eyes, etc.  Most of these birds stream by quite quickly, and they might be a mile away or more.  So you have to learn how to ID the birds based on overall shape (often in silhouette) and other clues like how fast they flap.

If you see them from below, some raptors have thin, “sharp” wings like falcons, while others have broader, “fatter” wings like the buteo hawks (e.g. Red-tails and Broad-wings).  Ospreys tend to make an “M” shape with their wings and bodies.

If you see them from the side, some birds like Turkey Vultures fly with a definite obtuse dihedral angle (their wings make a “V” shape).  Other birds, like eagles, will appear almost flat.

Other clues can help.  Size is not one of them, since a Bald Eagle at a great distance is the same apparent size as a much smaller Kestrel which is closer.  But flapping behavior can be a good clue.  Some birds mostly soar, flapping very little.  Others flap a lot.  Some tend to flap in patterns: flap-flap-glide.  In general, bigger birds flap more slowly than smaller ones (Golden Eagles have much bigger wing areas than Cooper’s Hawks, so they get much more thrust per flap).

All of these clues are important, because much of hawk watching comes down to “lump identification” – as I discussed in a previous post.  Actually “speck identification” is a little more accurate.  Here are some photos for you to try to ID for yourself (birds in the pictures are about the same apparent size and resolution I saw in my binoculars).

 

I was intrigued by the idea of hawk watching, but I have to say that after a couple hours of speck identification I decided that I like my birds big and close and in my face.  Yep, hawk watching has an elegance and intellectual appeal, but that’s not mostly why I go birding.  I did get to see some cool kettling – “kettles” are large groups of hawks that are rising together on the thermals.

Pretty cool, huh?  (You must think it’s pretty cool if you are STILL reading this post about hawk watching!)  The biggest kettle I saw had over 50 hawks.  The biggest ones that form in a season might contain thousands.  By the way, if you are ready for the IDs for the last three pictures they are: Bald Eagle (see the white head?), Red-tailed Hawk, and a kettle of Broad-wings.

After a couple hours on the mountain, I was ready to head down.  The counters had already tallied well over 200 raptors before lunch (and 1600+ the day before!).

After Hawk Mountain it is on to Connecticut for a couple of days, and then my September trip to the East Coast will be winding down.

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The List (400)

I had a fun day at Hawk Mountain today, but am too tired to download my photos and write a real blog post (look for that in a day or two).  But I did reach a milestone today: bird #400 for my Big Year (it was Broad-winged Hawk, if you’re wondering).  Not too bad for only 3 months!  I’m well over halfway towards my goal.  Of course I’ve seen many of the common species already, so it’s definitely about to get more challenging.

Here’s a list of what I’ve seen since mid-June in taxonomic order (not chronological order).  I just cut and pasted a table from eBird, so I hope this works!

# Species Location S/P Date
1 Canada Goose Crex Meadows SWA US-WI 19-Jun-12
2 Mute Swan Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
3 Trumpeter Swan Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
4 Wood Duck Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
5 Gadwall Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
6 American Wigeon Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
7 American Black Duck Edwin B. Forsythe NWR US-NJ 12-Sep-12
8 Mallard Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
9 Blue-winged Teal Bombay Hook NWR US-DE 14-Sep-12
10 Cinnamon Teal North Potholes Reserve US-WA 18-Aug-12
11 Northern Shoveler Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
12 Northern Pintail Ocean Shores–Oyhut Wildlife Area US-WA 5-Sep-12
13 Green-winged Teal Ocean Shores–Oyhut Wildlife Area US-WA 5-Sep-12
14 Redhead Amado WTP US-AZ 27-Jul-12
15 Ring-necked Duck Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
16 Harlequin Duck Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
17 Surf Scoter Ediz Hook US-WA 2-Jul-12
18 Common Goldeneye Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
19 Red-breasted Merganser Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
20 Ruddy Duck Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
21 California Quail Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
22 Gambel’s Quail Miller Canyon–lower US-AZ 31-Jul-12
23 Ring-necked Pheasant Bluestem Prairie SNA US-MN 18-Jun-12
24 Ruffed Grouse Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
25 Spruce Grouse Salmon Meadows CG US-WA 17-Aug-12
26 White-tailed Ptarmigan Mount Rainier NP–Mount Fremont Trail US-WA 7-Sep-12
27 Dusky Grouse Patterson Lake US-WA 16-Aug-12
28 Sooty Grouse Olympic NP–Hurricane Ridge US-WA 15-Jul-12
29 Sharp-tailed Grouse Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
30 Wild Turkey Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve–Forest trails (Scott Co.) US-MN 19-Jun-12
31 Common Loon Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
32 Pied-billed Grebe Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
33 Red-necked Grebe Crex Meadows SWA US-WI 19-Jun-12
34 Western Grebe Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
35 Clark’s Grebe Lake Isabella–Kissack Cove US-CA 24-Jul-12
36 Pink-footed Shearwater Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
37 Sooty Shearwater Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
38 Black-vented Shearwater Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
39 Leach’s Storm-Petrel Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
40 Ashy Storm-Petrel Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
41 Black Storm-Petrel Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
42 Red-billed Tropicbird Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
43 Brandt’s Cormorant Edmonds Ferry Terminal US-WA 16-Jul-12
44 Double-crested Cormorant Ediz Hook US-WA 2-Jul-12
45 Pelagic Cormorant Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
46 American White Pelican Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
47 Brown Pelican Ocean Trails US-CA 20-Jul-12
48 American Bittern Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
49 Great Blue Heron Otter Lake, Ramsey Co. US-MN 13-Jun-12
50 Great Egret Otter Lake, Ramsey Co. US-MN 13-Jun-12
51 Snowy Egret Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
52 Cattle Egret Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
53 Green Heron Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
54 Black-crowned Night-Heron Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
55 Glossy Ibis Edwin B. Forsythe NWR US-NJ 12-Sep-12
56 White-faced Ibis Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
57 Black Vulture Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
58 Turkey Vulture Grand Marais US-MN 15-Jun-12
59 Osprey Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
60 Northern Harrier Along Hwy75 US-MN 17-Jun-12
61 Sharp-shinned Hawk Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
62 Cooper’s Hawk Camarillo Community Park US-CA 22-Jul-12
63 Northern Goshawk Olympic NP–Hurricane Ridge US-WA 11-Aug-12
64 Bald Eagle Grand Marais US-MN 15-Jun-12
65 Red-shouldered Hawk Canebrake Ecological Reserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
66 Broad-winged Hawk Hawk Mountain Sanctuary–Visitor Center US-PA 15-Sep-12
67 Gray Hawk Patagonia Roadside Rest Area US-AZ 29-Jul-12
68 Red-tailed Hawk Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
69 Yellow Rail McGregor Marsh US-MN 16-Jun-12
70 Clapper Rail Jakes Landing US-NJ 13-Sep-12
71 American Coot Ocean Trails US-CA 20-Jul-12
72 Sandhill Crane Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
73 Black-bellied Plover Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
74 Pacific Golden-Plover Ocean Shores–Oyhut Wildlife Area US-WA 5-Sep-12
75 Snowy Plover Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
76 Semipalmated Plover WDFW North Olympic Wildlife Area, Lower Dungeness Unit US-WA 12-Aug-12
77 Piping Plover Stone Harbor Point US-NJ 13-Sep-12
78 Killdeer Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
79 American Oystercatcher Stone Harbor Point US-NJ 11-Sep-12
80 Black Oystercatcher Ediz Hook US-WA 13-Jul-12
81 Black-necked Stilt Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
82 American Avocet Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
83 Spotted Sandpiper Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
84 Solitary Sandpiper Rodale Park / Trexlertown Pines US-PA 14-Sep-12
85 Wandering Tattler Ocean Shores — Pt. Brown Jetty US-WA 5-Sep-12
86 Greater Yellowlegs North Potholes Reserve US-WA 18-Aug-12
87 Willet Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
88 Lesser Yellowlegs Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
89 Upland Sandpiper Felton Prairie US-MN 18-Jun-12
90 Whimbrel Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
91 Marbled Godwit Felton Prairie US-MN 18-Jun-12
92 Ruddy Turnstone WDFW North Olympic Wildlife Area, Lower Dungeness Unit US-WA 24-Aug-12
93 Black Turnstone Ediz Hook US-WA 12-Aug-12
94 Surfbird Ocean Shores — Pt. Brown Jetty US-WA 5-Sep-12
95 Sanderling Dungeness Landing Park/Oyster House US-WA 24-Aug-12
96 Semipalmated Sandpiper WDFW North Olympic Wildlife Area, Lower Dungeness Unit US-WA 12-Aug-12
97 Western Sandpiper Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
98 Least Sandpiper Three Crabs US-WA 12-Aug-12
99 White-rumped Sandpiper Bombay Hook NWR US-DE 14-Sep-12
100 Baird’s Sandpiper North Potholes Reserve US-WA 18-Aug-12
101 Pectoral Sandpiper North Potholes Reserve US-WA 18-Aug-12
102 Dunlin Bombay Hook NWR US-DE 14-Sep-12
103 Stilt Sandpiper North Potholes Reserve US-WA 18-Aug-12
104 Ruff Hoquiam STP US-WA 5-Sep-12
105 Short-billed Dowitcher Edwin B. Forsythe NWR US-NJ 12-Sep-12
106 Long-billed Dowitcher Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
107 Wilson’s Snipe Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
108 American Woodcock Rice Lake NWR US-MN 17-Jun-12
109 Red-necked Phalarope Edmonds-Kingston Ferry US-WA 23-Aug-12
110 Sabine’s Gull Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
111 Laughing Gull Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
112 Heermann’s Gull Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
113 Ring-billed Gull Grand Marais US-MN 14-Jun-12
114 Western Gull Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
115 Yellow-footed Gull Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
116 California Gull Ocean Trails US-CA 20-Jul-12
117 Herring Gull Grand Marais US-MN 14-Jun-12
118 Lesser Black-backed Gull Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 12-Sep-12
119 Glaucous-winged Gull Ediz Hook US-WA 2-Jul-12
120 Great Black-backed Gull Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
121 Caspian Tern Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
122 Black Tern Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
123 Common Tern Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
124 Forster’s Tern Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
125 Royal Tern Cape Island–CMPSP (Cape May Point SP) US-NJ 11-Sep-12
126 Elegant Tern Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
127 Black Skimmer Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
128 South Polar Skua Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
129 Pomarine Jaeger Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
130 Common Murre Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
131 Pigeon Guillemot Ediz Hook US-WA 2-Jul-12
132 Marbled Murrelet Ediz Hook US-WA 2-Jul-12
133 Scripps’s Murrelet Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
134 Cassin’s Auklet Santa Barbara Deepwater Pelagic Trip July 21, 2012 US-CA 21-Jul-12
135 Rhinoceros Auklet Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
136 Rock Pigeon Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
137 Band-tailed Pigeon My neighborhood US-WA 11-Jul-12
138 Eurasian Collared-Dove Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
139 Spotted Dove Salt Lake Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
140 White-winged Dove Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
141 Mourning Dove Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
142 Common Ground-Dove Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
143 Yellow-billed Cuckoo Houghton Lake WRA–Nellsville Rd Boardwalk US-MI 23-Jun-12
144 Black-billed Cuckoo Houghton Lake WRA–Nellsville Rd Boardwalk US-MI 23-Jun-12
145 Greater Roadrunner Jawbone Canyon Rd. US-CA 25-Jul-12
146 Snowy Owl 90th Ave S & 14th St US-MN 17-Jun-12
147 Northern Pygmy-Owl White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
148 Burrowing Owl Salton Sea NWR–Unit 2 / Visitor Center US-CA 25-Jul-12
149 Spotted Owl Miller Canyon–Beatty’s Guest Ranch US-AZ 29-Jul-12
150 Lesser Nighthawk Continental US-AZ 27-Jul-12
151 Common Nighthawk Savage US-MN 18-Jun-12
152 Common Poorwill Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
153 Eastern Whip-poor-will Stephan Bridge Rd. and N. Down River Rd. US-MI 22-Jun-12
154 Black Swift Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 10-Aug-12
155 Chimney Swift Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
156 Vaux’s Swift Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 10-Aug-12
157 White-throated Swift Ramsey Canyon Preserve US-AZ 29-Jul-12
158 Magnificent Hummingbird Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
159 Blue-throated Hummingbird Miller Canyon–Beatty’s Guest Ranch US-AZ 29-Jul-12
160 Ruby-throated Hummingbird Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
161 Black-chinned Hummingbird Kern River Preserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
162 Anna’s Hummingbird Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
163 Costa’s Hummingbird Miller Canyon–Beatty’s Guest Ranch US-AZ 29-Jul-12
164 Broad-tailed Hummingbird Miller Canyon–Beatty’s Guest Ranch US-AZ 29-Jul-12
165 Rufous Hummingbird Juanita Bay Park US-WA 7-Jul-12
166 Allen’s Hummingbird Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 22-Jul-12
167 Calliope Hummingbird Roger Lake US-WA 16-Aug-12
168 Broad-billed Hummingbird Agua Caliente Park US-AZ 26-Jul-12
169 Violet-crowned Hummingbird Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 28-Jul-12
170 White-eared Hummingbird Miller Canyon–Beatty’s Guest Ranch US-AZ 29-Jul-12
171 Elegant Trogon Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
172 Belted Kingfisher Felton Prairie US-MN 18-Jun-12
173 Lewis’s Woodpecker Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
174 Red-headed Woodpecker Dorothy–Municipal Park US-NJ 12-Sep-12
175 Acorn Woodpecker Salt Lake Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
176 Gila Woodpecker Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 28-Jul-12
177 Red-bellied Woodpecker Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve–Forest trails (Scott Co.) US-MN 19-Jun-12
178 Williamson’s Sapsucker White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
179 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
180 Red-naped Sapsucker Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
181 Red-breasted Sapsucker Pine Mountain Ridge Rd. US-CA 23-Jul-12
182 Ladder-backed Woodpecker Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 28-Jul-12
183 Downy Woodpecker Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
184 Hairy Woodpecker Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
185 Arizona Woodpecker Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
186 White-headed Woodpecker White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
187 American Three-toed Woodpecker Salmon Meadows CG US-WA 17-Aug-12
188 Black-backed Woodpecker White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
189 Northern Flicker Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
190 Pileated Woodpecker Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
191 American Kestrel Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
192 Merlin Edwin B. Forsythe NWR US-NJ 12-Sep-12
193 Peregrine Falcon Ediz Hook US-WA 11-Aug-12
194 Prairie Falcon Mount Rainier NP–Mount Fremont Trail US-WA 7-Sep-12
195 Olive-sided Flycatcher Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
196 Western Wood-Pewee Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
197 Eastern Wood-Pewee Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
198 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
199 Acadian Flycatcher Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
200 Alder Flycatcher Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
201 Willow Flycatcher Capitol Forest US-WA 11-Jul-12
202 Least Flycatcher Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
203 Hammond’s Flycatcher Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
204 Pacific-slope Flycatcher Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
205 Cordilleran Flycatcher Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
206 Black Phoebe Arnold Rd. US-CA 22-Jul-12
207 Eastern Phoebe Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
208 Say’s Phoebe Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
209 Vermilion Flycatcher Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 28-Jul-12
210 Dusky-capped Flycatcher Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
211 Ash-throated Flycatcher Jawbone Canyon Rd. US-CA 25-Jul-12
212 Great Crested Flycatcher Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
213 Brown-crested Flycatcher Agua Caliente Park US-AZ 26-Jul-12
214 Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Madera Canyon–Santa Cruz Co. US-AZ 27-Jul-12
215 Tropical Kingbird Rio Rico Pond US-AZ 28-Jul-12
216 Cassin’s Kingbird Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 29-Jul-12
217 Thick-billed Kingbird Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 29-Jul-12
218 Eastern Kingbird Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
219 Loggerhead Shrike Jawbone Canyon Rd. US-CA 25-Jul-12
220 White-eyed Vireo Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
221 Bell’s Vireo Montosa Canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
222 Yellow-throated Vireo Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
223 Plumbeous Vireo Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
224 Blue-headed Vireo Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
225 Hutton’s Vireo Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
226 Warbling Vireo Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
227 Philadelphia Vireo Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
228 Red-eyed Vireo Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
229 Gray Jay Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
230 Steller’s Jay Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
231 Blue Jay Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
232 Western Scrub-Jay Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
233 Mexican Jay Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
234 Black-billed Magpie Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
235 Clark’s Nutcracker White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
236 American Crow Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
237 Northwestern Crow Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
238 Fish Crow Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
239 Common Raven Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
240 Horned Lark Felton Prairie–170th St N, 3.0 mi N of 90th Ave N (CR 26) US-MN 17-Jun-12
241 Northern Rough-winged Swallow Interstate SP–Visitor Center US-MN 19-Jun-12
242 Purple Martin Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
243 Tree Swallow Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
244 Violet-green Swallow Four Seasons Ranch Beach (Private) US-WA 30-Jun-12
245 Bank Swallow Bluestem Prairie SNA US-MN 18-Jun-12
246 Barn Swallow Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
247 Cliff Swallow Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
248 Carolina Chickadee Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
249 Black-capped Chickadee Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
250 Mountain Chickadee White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
251 Chestnut-backed Chickadee Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
252 Boreal Chickadee Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
253 Bridled Titmouse Madera Canyon–Santa Cruz Co. US-AZ 27-Jul-12
254 Oak Titmouse Canebrake Ecological Reserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
255 Tufted Titmouse Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
256 Verdin Redington Rd MP 4.5 US-AZ 26-Jul-12
257 Bushtit Juanita Bay Park US-WA 7-Jul-12
258 Red-breasted Nuthatch Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
259 White-breasted Nuthatch Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
260 Pygmy Nuthatch Pine Mountain Ridge Rd. US-CA 23-Jul-12
261 Brown-headed Nuthatch Cape Henlopen SP–Nature Center area US-DE 13-Sep-12
262 Brown Creeper Rainy Pass (Chelan County) US-WA 16-Aug-12
263 Rock Wren Moses Coulee US-WA 18-Aug-12
264 Canyon Wren Pine Mountain Ridge Rd. US-CA 23-Jul-12
265 House Wren Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
266 Pacific Wren Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
267 Winter Wren Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
268 Sedge Wren Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
269 Marsh Wren Jakes Landing US-NJ 13-Sep-12
270 Bewick’s Wren Pine Mountain Ridge Rd. US-CA 23-Jul-12
271 Carolina Wren Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
272 Cactus Wren Chimney Peak Byway (KER Co.) US-CA 24-Jul-12
273 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve–Forest trails (Scott Co.) US-MN 19-Jun-12
274 California Gnatcatcher Ocean Trails US-CA 20-Jul-12
275 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Redington Rd MP 4.5 US-AZ 26-Jul-12
276 American Dipper Stampede Pass Exit (I-90) US-WA 28-Jun-12
277 Golden-crowned Kinglet Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
278 Ruby-crowned Kinglet Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
279 Wrentit Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
280 Eastern Bluebird Grand Marais US-MN 14-Jun-12
281 Western Bluebird Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
282 Mountain Bluebird Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
283 Townsend’s Solitaire White Pass — Bethel Ridge Road US-WA 6-Jul-12
284 Veery Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
285 Swainson’s Thrush Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 15-Jun-12
286 Hermit Thrush Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
287 Wood Thrush Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
288 American Robin Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
289 Varied Thrush Capitol Forest US-WA 11-Jul-12
290 Gray Catbird Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
291 Northern Mockingbird Salt Lake Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
292 Sage Thrasher Moses Coulee US-WA 18-Aug-12
293 Brown Thrasher Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
294 California Thrasher Camarillo Community Park US-CA 22-Jul-12
295 European Starling Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
296 American Pipit Olympic NP–Hurricane Ridge US-WA 15-Jul-12
297 Cedar Waxwing Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
298 Phainopepla Lake Isabella–Tillie Creek Campground US-CA 24-Jul-12
299 Chestnut-collared Longspur Felton Prairie–170th St N, 3.0 mi N of 90th Ave N (CR 26) US-MN 17-Jun-12
300 Ovenbird Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
301 Worm-eating Warbler Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
302 Louisiana Waterthrush Falls Creek SNA US-MN 19-Jun-12
303 Northern Waterthrush Hartwick Pines SP–Au Sable River Trail US-MI 22-Jun-12
304 Blue-winged Warbler Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
305 Golden-winged Warbler Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
306 Black-and-white Warbler Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
307 Orange-crowned Warbler Pine Mountain Ridge Rd. US-CA 23-Jul-12
308 Nashville Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
309 Connecticut Warbler Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
310 MacGillivray’s Warbler Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
311 Mourning Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
312 Common Yellowthroat Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
313 Hooded Warbler Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
314 American Redstart Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
315 Kirtland’s Warbler 4 Mile Rd. and Stephan Bridge Rd. US-MI 21-Jun-12
316 Cape May Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
317 Cerulean Warbler Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve–Forest trails (Scott Co.) US-MN 19-Jun-12
318 Northern Parula Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
319 Magnolia Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
320 Blackburnian Warbler Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
321 Yellow Warbler Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
322 Chestnut-sided Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
323 Blackpoll Warbler Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
324 Black-throated Blue Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
325 Palm Warbler Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
326 Pine Warbler Hartwick Pines SP–Au Sable River Trail US-MI 22-Jun-12
327 Yellow-rumped Warbler Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
328 Prairie Warbler Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 13-Sep-12
329 Grace’s Warbler Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
330 Black-throated Gray Warbler Capitol Forest US-WA 11-Jul-12
331 Townsend’s Warbler Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
332 Hermit Warbler Capitol Forest US-WA 11-Jul-12
333 Black-throated Green Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
334 Canada Warbler Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
335 Wilson’s Warbler Capitol Forest US-WA 11-Jul-12
336 Painted Redstart Madera Canyon–Santa Cruz Co. US-AZ 27-Jul-12
337 Yellow-breasted Chat Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve US-AZ 28-Jul-12
338 Spotted Towhee Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
339 Eastern Towhee Crex Meadows SWA US-WI 20-Jun-12
340 Rufous-crowned Sparrow Patagonia Roadside Rest Area US-AZ 28-Jul-12
341 California Towhee Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
342 Rufous-winged Sparrow Madera Canyon–grasslands below Proctor Rd US-AZ 28-Jul-12
343 Botteri’s Sparrow Madera Canyon–Santa Cruz Co. US-AZ 27-Jul-12
344 Cassin’s Sparrow San Pedro RNCA–San Pedro House US-AZ 30-Jul-12
345 Chipping Sparrow Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
346 Clay-colored Sparrow Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
347 Brewer’s Sparrow Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
348 Field Sparrow Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
349 Vesper Sparrow Felton Prairie US-MN 18-Jun-12
350 Lark Sparrow Canebrake Ecological Reserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
351 Black-throated Sparrow Redington Rd MP 4.5 US-AZ 26-Jul-12
352 Sage Sparrow Moses Coulee US-WA 18-Aug-12
353 Savannah Sparrow Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
354 Grasshopper Sparrow Felton Prairie–170th St N, 3.0 mi N of 90th Ave N (CR 26) US-MN 17-Jun-12
355 Henslow’s Sparrow Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
356 Le Conte’s Sparrow Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
357 Saltmarsh Sparrow Edwin B. Forsythe NWR US-NJ 12-Sep-12
358 Seaside Sparrow Jakes Landing US-NJ 13-Sep-12
359 Song Sparrow Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
360 Lincoln’s Sparrow Chase Bridge Rd US-MI 22-Jun-12
361 Swamp Sparrow Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
362 White-throated Sparrow Tettegouche SP US-MN 14-Jun-12
363 White-crowned Sparrow Whiskey Bend/Geyser Valley, ONP US-WA 1-Jul-12
364 Golden-crowned Sparrow Mount Rainier NP–Mount Fremont Trail US-WA 7-Sep-12
365 Dark-eyed Junco 4 Mile Rd. and Stephan Bridge Rd. US-MI 21-Jun-12
366 Hepatic Tanager Madera Canyon–upper canyon US-AZ 28-Jul-12
367 Summer Tanager Patagonia Roadside Rest Area US-AZ 28-Jul-12
368 Scarlet Tanager Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve (Scott Co.) US-MN 18-Jun-12
369 Western Tanager Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
370 Northern Cardinal Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
371 Rose-breasted Grosbeak Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
372 Black-headed Grosbeak Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
373 Blue Grosbeak Montosa Canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
374 Lazuli Bunting Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
375 Indigo Bunting Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 12-Sep-12
376 Varied Bunting Montosa Canyon US-AZ 27-Jul-12
377 Dickcissel Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
378 Bobolink Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
379 Red-winged Blackbird Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
380 Tricolored Blackbird Kern River Preserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
381 Western Meadowlark Felton Prairie–170th St N, 3.0 mi N of 90th Ave N (CR 26) US-MN 17-Jun-12
382 Yellow-headed Blackbird Rice Lake NWR US-MN 16-Jun-12
383 Brewer’s Blackbird Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
384 Common Grackle Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12
385 Boat-tailed Grackle Prime Hook NWR US-DE 14-Sep-12
386 Great-tailed Grackle Santa Clara River Estuary US-CA 22-Jul-12
387 Brown-headed Cowbird Rice Lake NWR US-MN 17-Jun-12
388 Hooded Oriole Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
389 Bullock’s Oriole Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
390 Baltimore Oriole Cape Island–Higbees Beach SWA US-NJ 11-Sep-12
391 Pine Grosbeak Salmon Meadows CG US-WA 17-Aug-12
392 Purple Finch Lima Mtn Rd–The Triangle US-MN 14-Jun-12
393 Cassin’s Finch Umtanum Road US-WA 28-Jun-12
394 House Finch Railroad Bridge Park US-WA 15-Jul-12
395 Pine Siskin Railroad Bridge Park US-WA 15-Jul-12
396 Lesser Goldfinch Arroyo Verde Park US-CA 20-Jul-12
397 Lawrence’s Goldfinch Kern River Preserve US-CA 24-Jul-12
398 American Goldfinch Falls Creek SNA US-MN 13-Jun-12
399 Evening Grosbeak Hartwick Pines SP–Au Sable River Trail US-MI 22-Jun-12
400 House Sparrow Sax-Zim Bog US-MN 16-Jun-12

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Jersey Shore

While my favorite kind of birding is walking through the fields and forests looking for warblers, hitting the beach and marshlands is pretty appealing too.  New Jersey has a lot of such habitat, so I spent several days this week looking for common and rare gulls, terns, ducks, sandpipers, plovers, rails, and sparrows.

The area around Cape May has several nice shorebird locations, and I spent several mornings and afternoons walking the beach at Stone Harbor and Cape May Point State Park.  It was fun to see all of the different bird tracks in the sand and try to guess who made each one (above: Semipalmated Plover).  My best pick-up here was Lesser Black-backed Gull, an uncommon visitor from Europe.

I also spent most of a day at Brigantine (official name: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge: Brigantine Unit), just north of Atlantic City.  This is terrific saltmarsh habitat, and a great place to see shorebirds, terns, and egrets.

I spent about 4 hours just driving the 8-mile auto loop, stopping frequently to look, walk, and take photos.  I brought my trusty 60x telescope, and spent a lot of time squinted through it at distant birds and other critters (my wife calls this “lump identification” – where you try to figure out what that sleeping bird is on the far shore, 300 yards away).  At times, I caught a glimpse of Atlantic City in the background, an interesting contrast to Brigantine.

My best bird here was the secretive Saltmarsh Sparrow.  These guys are pretty shy, and spend a lot of time hiding in the emergent vegetation.  I managed one photo, which shows a typical view you get of this species.

The Saltmarsh Sparrow is one of about seven sparrows (in North America) in the genus Ammodramus, and they are pretty much all known to be hard to find and hard to identify.  So far this year I’ve already seen five out of the seven, so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

As the day at Brig warmed up, the sun began baking the marshland.  Waves of distortion created by the rising warm air began to make viewing difficult, especially through my telescope.  You can see the distortion both in front of and especially in the background behind this distant Merlin (a small falcon), as he tries to figure out which sandpiper to have for lunch.

 

 

 

After a couple days on the Jersey Shore, I took the ferry from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware (about 17 miles/80 minutes across the bay).  Halfway across, the ferry was buzzed by four low-altitude F-15 fighter jets (from Dover Air Force Base?), literally the loudest sound I’ve EVER heard.  I felt partially deaf for the rest of the day.

I spent yesterday day driving north along the Delaware bay shore, stopping at Prime Hook and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges.  Ok, it only took me about an hour to do the actual driving part – Delaware is small!  I’m leaving the beach behind for now – next stop: Hawk Mountain, PA.

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