Northeastern Wrap Up

I’ve been back from the Northeast for over a week now, but I haven’t posted my customary wrap up.  So here it is!

This was my fourth major out-of-state trip for the year, and it was a good one.  I was a little worried that this trip might be less productive than the others, but that certainly was not the case.  I dodged major snow and ice storms (not to mention Hurricane Sandy), and had some good luck tracking down unusual birds like this young Iceland Gull found at Plymouth, MA:

Iceland Gull

While Iceland Gull was definitely a good find, it has nothing on three super rarities I saw: Northern Lapwing, Little Egret, and Barnacle Goose.  The American Birding Association (yes, there is such an organization) lists each of these species as Code 4 – literally rarer than Rare (which is Code 3).  You can check out the coding system here, and see the complete ABA checklist (at least last year’s version) here.

Here are some stats from my trip:

Miles by car: 2156

Miles by foot: 30 (approx)

Total species seen: 88

New Year Birds added: 20

Total number of individual birds seen (according to my eBird summary): 4200+ (approx)

Times honked at by NYC drivers: 6

Times honked at by Canada Geese: 589

Cool new ideas I got from my school visits: 18

Crazy signs: 4 (but I only got a picture of one of them)

Thickly settled sign

Ok, maybe if you’re from the Northeast this sign seems perfectly reasonable.  But I busted out laughing the first time I saw one.  Thickly settled?  Jello or chocolate pudding might be thickly settled, or maybe pioneers in a popular valley out on the frontier.  But can a suburban neighborhood be thickly settled?  I’m skeptical.

While I was gone, I did receive some wonderful photos of the Rock Sandpiper I saw on Ediz Hook (WA) from Dow Lambert.  I met Dow at Ediz Hook, and he managed to snap some great pics of the sandpiper like this one:

Rock Sandpiper (c) Dow Lambert

Thanks for emailing me these pictures, Dow!  If you like amazing photos of interesting Washington state birds, you should really check out his website at

That’s all for now!  I’m home through the end of the year, and then I’m off for another combined trip to California and Arizona in January, and then to Texas in February.

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