In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!
Well. Well. What a day! We birded Peace River Valley first this morning then drove to Hawk Mountain west of Allentown, PA. It was a gorgeous day! And the hawks were flying. Highlights included 3 Northern Goshawks and 2 Golden Eagles!
We ate an early dinner and drove to a banding station west of Hawk Mountain where we were given an overload of cuteness. Northern Saw-whet Owls!
Today is the first day of the 10th of 11 one-week tours I am doing with Wildside Nature Tours. We picked up folks at the Philadelphia Airport today and we birded our way along the Delaware River (and yes, we passed the place where George Washington crossed it). I do not have much to say tonight as my eyelids are just about shut. I’d prop them open with toothpicks, but I doubt it would keep me awake even if my eyes were open. <grin>
I will share the bird list tomorrow night. Until then, you can enjoy another shot of John Roebling Park (Trenton Marsh) near Trenton, New Jersey.
Storms today continued to make conditions difficult for birding. The combination of wind and rain is tough to find birds. The remnants of typhoon Songda have not yet reached the Washington Coast.
Although some of the driving was dreary, soggy, and gray, a few streets were lined with trees in full autumn color.
We started birding today in Nisqually NWR, then stopped at the mouth of the Cedar River, and Marymoor Park, and ended the day at Discovery Park in Seattle. Although we did not add any new birds for the year we did have a birding highlight–a Varied Thrush!
This concludes the 9th tour of 11 one-week tours for my Big Year with Wildside Nature Tours. We have 520 species for the year and 127 species for the trip. This has been a fun week that has whooshed by all too quickly.
Tomorrow participants are flying out of Seattle. I will be joining them. Soon I’ll be on the road again after 3 full days at home. Next comes the Fall Festival at Cape May, then the New Jersey Big Year Tour, and the Rio Grand Valley Birding Festival, and finally the Rio Grande Valley Big Year Tour.
Pacific Coast – Day 5 was rainy…all day long. Optimism is usually not so very high with tough conditions. But Steve Ritt and Chris Brown rose to the occasion. In fact today had the HIGHEST species count of any day on our tour so far–74 species!
And that’s not all! Not only did we have a higher species total, wait until you hear WHAT we saw. Just before lunch Steve Ritt was making one last stop before exiting the Hoquiam Sewage Treatment Ponds near Aberdeen. And then all bedlam broke loose. Steve called to me to come look through his telescope. And OH MY! Working with a group of dowitchers was one that was smaller, shorter-billed, and with a caramel color across its chest, a reddish crown, and a wide supercilium (eyebrow). WHOA! A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper!
This is a bird that normally nests in Siberia and migrates south to Australia. This bird is thousands of miles off course! Sometimes it’s a good thing to be birding in inclement weather.
But don’t stop there! Steve and Chris found a Pacific Golden-Plover at Bottle Beach State Park near Westport, WA today as well! Wow. What a day!
Trip total species is 121. Year total is now at 520!
Day 3 in a word was “AWESOME”. We added 4 new species, saw stunning scenery, and had near perfect weather. Are we really on the Olympic Peninsula? The State of Washington continues to dazzle. The crystal blue skies were just unbelievable. And the deep blue waters looked so crisp and inviting. The trees are… Continue Reading
Seeing the evening glow on Mt. Rainier in the far distance was really special this evening! What a treat! And a bit of a rarity considering it was a CLEAR evening near Seattle! We visited Gog-Le-Hi-Te Mitigated Wetlands this morning, then the 11th St bridge, then back again. We got both Lapland Longspur and… Continue Reading
Everyone arrived in Seattle by mid-afternoon. Most of the group got to bird at Kent Ponds before the last participants arrived. Birding there was a little slow but we still added one new bird for the year–a calling Fox Sparrow. And, of course, it’s always fun for an Ohio birder like me to see… Continue Reading
We started the morning in Pinnacles National Park. Actually, no. Our drive from Hollister, CA to Pinnacles was interrupted by Yellow-billed Magpies. Pinnacles was very birdy this morning. Our first stop had a number of good birds from the parking lot. Flocks of Lawrence’s Goldfinches flitting about, a few Western Bluebirds nearby, a flyover… Continue Reading
We made it! Over 500 species for my Big Year tours with Wildside Nature Tours. This is trip #8 out of 11 one-week trips designed to see 500 or more species in the Lower 48 States in one calendar year…with tour participants. We have already reached our mark and we have 3 more trips… Continue Reading