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millipede

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millipede last won the day on March 28

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  1. can't entirely argue that... We saw two the first day and heard at least three the second day... very vocal birds. I try to tell myself that it's good to not find them all as I'll be able to keep finding new ones for years to come... it's hard though... all in all I think I had 7 new species and my daughter had 8 for the trip.
  2. well... a long and sometimes miserable 2 weeks are done and I'm home... Plans changed a LOT... often because of my wife just NOT wanting to be sitting there while I birded. 😞 It was frustrating at times because weeks and weeks before the trip, she LOVED the ideas I had for the detours, the extra stops to stretch our legs, the beach trips, etc... but once we were on our way it was a different story so things needed to be adjusted... starting with the trip out of AR... we left a little late... so, I wasn't going to make it to the ST Louis area before dark which meant I was going to miss the eurasian tree sparrows... unless I spent the night in that area which wasn't going to happen... so, I just stopped at a rest area earlier in the state. Here's a boring list of the 12 birds I got there... just average backyard birds, nothing of note... If I can find my old notebooks, I have a checklist from the Illinois side of the eurasian tree sparrow range from a few years ago so to save time, I decided to skip over Illinois all together... sort of sad but, okay at the same time. 13 average birds at a rest stop in Indiana... 11 birds at a rest stop in Kentucky... picked up an incidental osprey while driving the interstate into Ohio... Battelle Darby Creek...: Report from Teal trail...... wish I had more time but wife got restless... managed some common gallinules(one of our target species) and 2 sandhill cranes... those were supposed to be a target at our next stop but this was great to see here as we'd run out of time at the NY stop... did not find the henslow's sparrows, bell's vireos, or the less likely ring-necked pheasants but those two birds still made the stop worth while... small list from the nature center... Monetzuma NWR in NY was a great spot but I wish I had more time. I took so long on the driving trail that my wife was beside herself ready to get out of there... so, I did not get to explore a few other areas that I wanted to where I would have seen the cranes and possibly a bittern or something. We got a trumpeter swan, some real close views of common gallinules, and a surprise ruddy turnstone, a lifer for us. I will definitely have to bird this spot again... some day. Best bird in my hometown of North Billerica, MA was virginia rail. I heard three of them calling one morning, and my daughter wasn't there... I only caught a VERY brief glimpse but the calls were unmistakable... I got advice on when and how to look for them but the next few days, no sights or sounds. 😞 Moose bog trip up to VT was nice... don't have the checklists all in right now but... I found NO birds near the entrance... NONE... at least the first day... I put out bird seen in several places including on top of the sign and the next day, it hadn't been touched. Two days, one evening, one morning, and we found NO birds that were coming in to eat from our hands... that was a disappointment. We also searched and used playback but found no canada jays or boreal chickadees... both ones I was hoping for... Had a heard ruffed grouse. we used playback after we heard it to confirm that over spruce and it was pretty definitive. It called from nearby for a few minutes before going silent. My daughter doesn't count heard only life birds so she's not happy... a view sure would have been nice though. We heard the black-backed woodpeckers... I caught a glimpse of one as it moved from place to place, mostly avoiding our gaze... very vocal and unmistakable... but my daughter never saw it and isn't happy that I saw it fly by briefly. We had some REAL close encounters with black-throated blue warblers... this was exciting... and, both days we had white-winged crossbills... something I thought would be less likely than the chickadees or jays... new life bird and pretty exciting... yet somehow I was still disappointed by the ones I was searching for... Oh, we also had what had to be a hermit thrush... tail seemed the right color but it was young so it was more patterned. I got excited when it REALLY reacted to the bicknell's playback but, it had to be a hermit... have pictures here somewhere... had my hopes up for a moment. Over at Brighton state park we had some loons, red-breasted nuthatches, and a few others but nothing exciting. Parker River was a great stop(stops) We heard a saltmarsh sparrow but we were never 100% certain and it didn't show itself so we didn't record it. we were at lot #2... later asked someone about finding one and they told us that was the spot to check so that really made us sure(or me anyway) that we heard one... still wont record it though. 😞 Nothing too exciting or new for me but some new birds for my daughter including a northern gannet a ways out flying low over the ocean. Got my scope on it so she could REALLY watch it so it was good enough for her to count. TONS of swallows(thousands) and a bunch of starlings that got chased by some peregrine falcons and a merlin at one point. Merlin would be a new life bird for my daughter but she was sitting in the van, tired, while I watched it chase through a flock of starlings... was exciting. Thankfully, for her, a while later someone else stopped me from leaving one spot to point it out on top of a tree... so my daughter got looks at it and was happy... then an osprey flew in with a fish... and a bald eagle right behind. The osprey eventually lost the fish... they chased each other... and neither ended up with the fish. All that wasted energy. HA. Got the american avocet... not new for us but apparently a big deal at this location. Both dowitchers were there... I'm sure I missed some exciting birds but my wife was getting restless waiting on us so I cut the trip a little short. Oh how I could get lost for hours upon hours watching birds. Lists from Parker River NWR include: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59281907 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59282496 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59282928 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59283652 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59288130 https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59292467 we were supposed to go early one day and visit the beach at the end but, as a family we never actually made it to a beach because my wife kept changing plans. 😞 I still enjoyed the birding but could have used some swimming too. Oh well. On the way back we stopped at the audubon coastal center in Milford CT to try and find oystercatchers... a real NEED for us... we left MA late and didn't get to the center til about 7:30 at night when light was fading. Saw a few interesting birds but no oystercatchers or anything new... a bit of a disappointment as I have no idea when we'll get to hunt for them again. That spot has them reported every day this time of year so we were hoping... timing just didn't work out. 😞 added rest stops in WV and TN just to add some more states... then a final stop at Bald Knob in AR... it was hot and my stop got nagged shorter than I'd like it but it was a decent stop... great place if anyone is ever passing through the I-40 area of AR... Nothing new for me but my daughter finally got to see some black-necked stilts.... about 20 of them at least. Then my camera stopped working properly... no more zoom... time to bury that thing, if only I could afford a new one. 😞 😞 😞 Those are the highlights anyway... there's more I could add but, this took a while to type... HA.
  3. This just in..... (there, that makes this news... honestly there isn't a good spot for this but wanted to share anyway...) There's a facebook group for Birding in Massachusetts in case anyone here is interested. I don't consider this advertising because I don't get anything out of it... The group was semi active a few years ago, then it wasn't... whomever created it left it abandoned so I took it over and started approving members and such again... If for nothing else, check out the group cover photo... It's a red-tailed hawk that landed on the board holding a clothesline in my mom's backyard... several kids were playing nearby and this hawk did not mind. Head was turning every which way, studying, looking, listening for prey. I'd walk a little closer and snap another photo... probably got to about 10 feet away before it flew to the neighbor's yard. It just sat there for so long it was just amazing... heard calls for "lunch" coming from the kitchen window but I kept on snapping photos and just staring at the bird...
  4. Since there still isn't a good section(or one that gets attention) for other conversation I'm putting this here for now. I'm on my vacation in Massachusetts and behind my mom's neighbor's house is a swamp associated with the Concord river. Two days ago we had a decent time sitting there, a few good birds. Yesterday I went by myself and I heard 3 virginia rails around 8:30 in the morning. I got a glimpse of one, not enough to KNOW it was that but the general shape, behavior, location suggested that's what I just saw and I heard both the basic male and female calls... I was excited... but, my daughter wasn't with me. We went back out before 8:30 and waited, tried playback, waited... and nothing. :( I meant to come on yesterday and ask... is there a way to see one of these in the open? This swamp is thick and muddy... lots of weedy plants... the whole cove part of the river coming into the swamp is covered in duckweed... over a dozen wood ducks... osprey... herons... even a mute swan all three days. Is there a time of day where you can SEE a rail??? even if it's at night if I have a flashlight??? something? I NEED to know... ha. I'll report other details of the trip eventually. Got a few of the life birds we were looking for on the way and headed up to moose bog in VT tomorrow. Had a raven in the neighborhood this morning croaking away... Anyway... I could say more but there's lots to do... "need" the rail info as my daughter NEEDS to see one. :)
  5. can't afford to, financially, anyway... BUT...... I'd rather have no clue how to use a camera then deal with this one. I've had it for a little over 5 years now and, it's always been a little quirky... then 3 or 4 years ago I dropped it in a muddy puddle... Still works but, SLOWLY getting worse every year. Once in a while it will reset itself like I took the batteries out for a long time... Sometimes for NO reason at all, sometimes it's more likely if the batteries are weak. And then WHILE changing settings(date, time, image quality, etc) it will cycle through things I'm not cycling through... I'll scroll up and it will scroll up or down on its own. It's maddening. Used to just do that sometimes, now it's VERY often... and now, sometimes it will cycle through settings WHILE I'm trying to take a picture. Nothing like getting focused only have it act like I changed the dial from auto to something else. It has a mind of its own and I just want to smash it to the ground some days. Had it all charged up and brought it to the 4th of July fireworks as it has a fireworks setting that works well... But I couldn't do a thing with it so I tossed it back in the van and just watched. So........ Anyone want to donate a camera? HA It works good enough that it shouldn't be a BIG deal unless there's something rare that doesn't stand still and is gone 2 seconds later. But I'd still love a new one. Some day... just like a new PC, I've been saying someday for a while now but, it will happen......... some day... HA
  6. I asked around a little and haven't found much response.... yet... But I ended up mostly using eBird to decide where to go in CT... it's going to add about 20 minutes(just the driving) to our already long trip home. We're looking at 26 hours to MA and 28 hours on the way back... which will be longer than that because of labor day weekend traffic. We'll survive though. Purposely giving myself 3 days to get home. It will work out, I have faith. 🙂 So I'm currently decided on going to the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point. Looking at reports, it looks like a fairly reliable spot for the American oystercatcher. It's also not a public beach kind of place so it wont be crowded. There's also the potential for ruddy turnstone and red knot. We'll see about those. At any rate, it will be more interesting than a rest area. 🙂 After that, there will be rest stops in a few places, harper's ferry, some park in Virginia, a hospital's pond in Delaware I think... mostly little stops that wont be too serious and then, Bald Knob in Arkansas. I've almost got it all planned/mapped out. Hopefully by the end of today. I still haven't subscribed to any rare bird alerts and, I'm not sure I want to... I mean, obviously I want to... but, the trip is already long enough, don't know if I can stand detours. HA. The little egret in Maine is only reported once in a while lately so I'm not sure I want to go chasing that one. I wish the one that was in NH stuck around. And there's been a tufted duck up in NH at a location that's only open on the weekends... I think all I can do there is check reports on the Saturday we're there and, if it's reported at that point, head up early Sunday and hope we find it. We'll see. Still lots to do to get ready. Once we're back, I might crash for a while but I will eventually have eBird reports and pictures to share. At the very least, I better get pictures of our life birds. I just wish I could afford a new camera before then.
  7. Can you believe that I'm still planning??? ugh... ha. Been busy. I have the trip to Massachusetts planned... as long as the weather is good I have a day planned at Parker River NWR starting with the morning at Sandy Point State Reservation for some low tide swimming early in the morning, then hitting various spots that I still have to map out. Then a trip up to Moose Bog and an overnight camping trip to Brighton State Park while we're up there, one day when the weather is good, hopefully... Then we have a possible beach day at Wingaersheek... That's up in the air for the second week we're there. I've been studying species maps on eBird trying to figure out where to go to see an oystercatcher the last half of August and, they sure look hit or miss. I think my best bet is to look at the reports once I'm up there and go to where they've been spotted and just hope. Last two weeks in August, anyone have any SURE places to find one? Preferably north shore or something, not down in or below Boston... I'm HOPING after we go to Wingaersheek that we might be able to drive around the Gloucestor area and find something. But, the eBird maps for August don't look great... Each spot along the coast seemed to have one or two reports for ALL of August last year. That's not very promising... Then there's CT. If we don't find anything or run out of time and can't chase in MA, I think I will have to change my CT stop for the trip home... in fact, I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and plan a change for that now, ahead of time. Seems almost anywhere on the coast of CT will have oystercatchers... LOTS of reports compared to the northern coasts of MA. So I might just plan on chasing that on the way home... that drive that's going to take SO long. Map I'm using says 27:45 hours for the drive home(not counting the potential trip change for oystercatchers) and google, at the moment, says if I leave early that morning I plan on leaving it could take 25-31 hours. That's a 6 hour potential difference there. I'm prepared for that though. Stopping in each state will break that up enough, I hope. This is the plan, not changing it. 🙂 I was thinking about stopping at liberty park to try and see the statue of liberty... and see that oystercatchers are seen there, sometimes... But I think at that point I wont want to be making a stop that could end up taking longer than I'd like. We'll see. I'm giving myself enough time that if I get stuck in traffic, I'll still make it home. 🙂 Other than the LONG drive, 7 people AND their luggage crammed into a minivan, and a lack of sleep... it's going to be a good trip. I REALLY wish I could sleep better in a vehicle. There will be times where I might try to sleep if my wife is awake enough to drive but also a couple spots where we'll just be sleeping at a rest area. Even that will prove difficult but I better find a way to do it... Oh... anyone familiar with coastal hotspots in CT? Which ones you might suggest are good for oystercatchers?(I'll be looking at the maps and charts myself) AND... if any of said hotspots are close and EASY to get on and off from 95? That could make a difference. It will still be morning(ish) so there hopefully wouldn't be toooooo many people.... Or, perhaps I better plan on it not being beachy but a less touristy type place along the cost to stop. Any suggestions for that? Do we have any CT birders here??? I might go track down a CT bird group and ask them as well.
  8. I'd be inclined to call them greater yellowlegs. I can't judge the second picture very good but overall size/shape/appearance and length of bill gives me that feel. In the first picture the bill is at an angle in the pose but it looks long enough and appears to have a slight upturn, a characteristic of the greater. So that's my thoughts. Wait for confirmation from others.
  9. I'll have to get up and check it first thing in the morning but it will be difficult to compare at different hours. I put into google maps that I'd leave the day I plan on leaving, say around 8:30 AM and it said from Lowell(closer to where I'll be) to Baltimore would take 7 to 9.5 hours. As opposed to 6 to 7h40m if I skip Rhode Island and hit CT further west. I could lessen the time by skipping RI if I hit that while I'm visiting but... I am not sure that's a "better" plan... as I'd end up making a whole day out of a trip to RI if I go during my trip instead of adding a couple hours on the ride home. Decisions... hmmm... I get it... I'll be passing through those areas BEFORE work gets out that Friday so it shouldn't be AS bad... but, I can't change ALL my plans at this point. We're leaving MA on the 30th, it's just a matter of what time we leave and which way we go... but we REALLY want to visit those states. I'll have to think about it more. The worst part of a longer drive is... is it good for the van... I can wait. I'm patient. Our normal 24(ish) hour drive turned into 36 actual travel hours one year because of a snow storm in the IL/IN area. Lots of being stuck on the highway with off ramps closed and cars in ditches... We survived. If I NEED to I can TRY to jam CT and RI into a day trip while I'm there, or extend my drive TO Mass be dropping down(doubt I'll be up for that by the time I get there) but I REALLY want to pass through MD and DE and then WV and VA before dropping down to TN. One way or another... I'll make it. Am I on drugs? Nope... am I a tough, patient, tolerant birder? Yep... 😛 I like to tease my oldest daughter in the winter because she doesn't like to get out when it's COLD... I find the most ducks when it's cold..... miserably cold... Basically, I would walk that corridor if it meant an ivory billed or hybrid or something. 🙂 I'm open to suggestions as to better ways to fit in some of my plans but, at the moment I have no intention to just completely change them. If I'm miserable in traffic for a couple extra hours, I wont cry.
  10. Finally got my oldest daughter to come look... and I mentioned that I had looked at them but just wasn't sure. So she opened the book and said it's probably an Abert's. One of the things I hate about field guides is how the birds in real life aren't posed the same and have variations. In the book, this tail would look too long to me but, it is the best fit that I can see at the moment. I'll wait for some confirmation though. 🙂
  11. As strikingly pretty as they are, I've often found them to be a bit secretive... or at least, they hang out in DENSE trees often enough. Best bet to find one is to study their song and listen for them. They're not as abundant as some of the more common birds... with something like a cardinal, you can get a ton in your yard in one day but I THINK that you'll see birds like tanagers a bit more spread out. So one could be in that area and just not out in the open very often.
  12. That sounds like a SLIGHT exaggeration... 😛 You do have me "scared" though. My plan is to take 95 down through MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE, and then lose it in Maryland... at that point I believe I'm going to head over to Harper's Ferry to hit west virginia and then travel the western side of VA down to TN. I'll be avoiding the DC area at least. I REALLY REALLY plan on hitting those states and there's really no other way to do so. In Massachusetts I can take 495 AROUND the boston area before picking 95 back up before hitting RI. But without adding a TON of time, 95 is the only way to go through some of those states. I haven't done much relaxing stuff online lately... been busy with the planning which has included shopping for stuff I "need" and that's been a pain. So I haven't been back here to update much. I got good advice on the two big hotspots I plan on visiting on the way there... and on the way back I'll be hitting bald knob in Arkansas and there's a guy that lives in that area that said I could even call him and have him come out and show us around if we need him. It's going to be miserable at times with the driving... I'd much rather take our normal route to and from but, seeing new birds and birding new locations is going to be fun. The first few miserable states on the way back home will be broken up with short checklists at rest areas and such. That SHOULD help the driving feel less miserable. We'll see I guess. I'll come back with some more updates from time to time and eventually have a finalized list of all I hope to see and where we'll be going, etc... I did manage to find my old map from Parker River NWR so I can plan that one out ahead of time... eBirding each spot separately and all. anyway... hopefully I wont DIE driving 95 through some of those states... It will be friday mid morning(friday before labor day, of all days...) so I'm hoping if I can leave MA at the right time, I can avoid some of the traffic. I don't know that avoiding traffic is possible but the main thing is to leave long before people are leaving work for the 3 day weekend.
  13. A friend's pics from Arizona... not sure where in AZ but, recent... This is an example of me just having a REAL hard time with blurry photos. I've been told all three photos are of the same bird. I can't make out all the detail I need. Looks almost like a female grackle(one of the long tailed ones) in one picture but the bill seems all wrong in another picture. Blurriness hides and distorts features to my eyes... :( Anyway, I need another opinion on the bird...
  14. wait for a second but that's certainly what I'd call it...
  15. 🙂 After I typed up what I did, I asked myself(quietly, in my head) how many people might just tell me what it was without reading it all. I almost commented/replied to clarify but decided just to see what would happen. 🙂 And... "he" millipede is a he.
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