Tag Archives: wrap-up

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 http://www.mastdog.com/DowMar/Birding/

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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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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Southwest Wrap-Up

I enjoyed my trip to the sun-baked American Southwest, but it’s good to be back in Seattle (where we are currently experiencing a little baking weather of our own, augmented by the fact that we have no air conditioning!).

Total bird species: 183

Total miles driven: 2229

Total miles hiked: 40 (approximately)

Favorite Place: Madera Canyon, AZ

Best bird: Red-billed Tropicbird

Biggest Miss: Mountain Quail and Pinyon Jay

Scariest moment: Engine trouble 80 miles off-shore

Road washouts that curtailed my birding: two

Road washout that I had to somehow navigate to make it back to the airport for my flight back to Seattle: one (pic below!)

I’m hanging out most of August with my family, picking berries with the kids, trying to get my house re-roofed (yea), and catching up on some house and yard work.  September will take me to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nearby states to explore Cape May and visit some schools.  More then…


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Northern States Wrap Up

Well, I’m back from my first trip of the year, to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Total bird species: 145

Total miles driven: 2532

Total miles hiked: 35 (approximately)

Favorite Place: Rice Lake NWR, MN

Best bird: Kirtland’s Warbler

Most unexpected bird: Snowy Owl

Hardest bird to get: Connecticut Warbler

Biggest miss: Greater Prairie-Chicken

Coolest non-birds: Moose, 13-lined ground-squirrels, black squirrels of Michigan (tie)

Funkiest restaurant (in a good way): Bear’s Den Pizza in Grayling, MI and the Outdoor Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail, MN

Funkiest restaurant (in a less good way): That Coca Cola cafe in a place that shall remain nameless

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