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millipede last won the day on March 28

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  1. I'm still making many adjustments to the trip, at least the travel plans. I changed the route after St Louis to head down 64, I think, across lower IL and IN and then head through a little portion of KY just to hit a rest area and bird that state. HA.
  2. with moose bog... how bad are the bugs? Mosquitoes? Deer flies? Will bug spray be enough? I MIGHT have other family tagging along for the trip, including a niece that has bad reactions to mosquitoes. And a question about feeding by hand... @The Bird Nuts Is there a specific area to try and feed them by hand? Near a parking lot? Just anywhere along the trail?
  3. I tried asking the other day in a local FB birding group, that has some GOOD photographers in it, but got no responses so far. :( Looking for opinions on tripods. And I'd love to get something figured out before my trip to Massachusetts. I'm not a photographer with a good camera or anything but I do like taking pictures. I wouldn't use a tripod very often but on breezy days when I'm trying to photograph something a ways off, especially if it's an exciting bird, a tripod would help a bit. I also have a cheap scope I bought at harbor freight years ago. I goes from 20x to 40x to 60x but only looks good using the 20x setting. After that it's painful to look at details. HA. But, 20x that's clear is better than the 10x of my binoculars so it's still quite helpful. I currently own a tripod that I picked up at a yard sale probably 13-15 years ago. It's a little flimsy for my taste. The slightest breeze shakes things so stronger winds are lousy and, with photographs... in the past I had the strangest setup. I didn't have the plate that goes in to secure your camera... and back then I just had a 3x zoom digital camera. I used a block of wood to build something that fit in that stop on the tripod that allowed me to then screw on my old binoculars and it had arms sticking out for me to rest the camera on. I'd zoom in and focus the binoculars on an object like the moon and then, set a timer for 10 seconds so that after I hit the button the tripod would finally stop shaking and take a decent pic. It worked. HA... Anyway, it's not super sturdy... I NEED to find a balance between a good price and something sturdy that I wont hate. This is one of the ones I've looked at so far... I've also seen some for under $30 that SAY "pro" and "sturdy" but I'm kind of thinking that I'm not going to be happy with something that's that cheap. But I'm poor so I have to be frugal here. I don't think I want to get the ball head design... any recommendations, or just general input to consider? Oh, there are different sizes. I probably need one that's at least 65 inches... I'm about 6'2" tall so a 50" tripod wont quite do.
  4. Somehow, I need to find THE right people to ask specific questions about specific locations. I HATE this planning but am glad I'm TRYING to work on it now. At the moment, for some reason, I'm working on my beach trip to plum island. Apparently that beach, Sandy Point, isn't part of Parker River NWR. But I hope to go there and swim some because, if I remember correctly, the undertow isn't horrific on that end there. But now I'm looking at high tide vs low tide. Anyone familiar with that beach? And does it matter a whole lot for swimming when high and low tides are? I was planning on swimming at the beach somewhere around the 26-28th of August but it looks like in the morning it will be high tide that week. The week before that I can hit low tide earlier in the day. I can plan around the tide any day except for that location as parking is not easy to come by. So my plan was to go EARLY enough to get parking at that beach and then swim before birding... (even if earlier birding is better...) Anyone know if that beach would be better at high or low tide? Or if it matters? Sorry for the million questions and thoughts. If I don't work hard planning this all now it will be chaotic when I'm there and plans will likely not work out like I want.
  5. Another update, sort of... I'm looking at a calendar and planning a few things and, boy a vacation disappears quickly. I think an overnight to moose bog and a day trip to plum island are going to be my only scheduled bird trips... sadly. 😞 My daughter jokes she wants to go see a razorbill but I'm not planning on driving THAT far. 😞 So I'll have to make the most out of the stops we have. Moose bog, I think, is just going to involve us REALLY searching that area. I think we'll have a good day there. Parker River NWR I'd like some help planning. I'll have to see if there's a page with good maps, or if I still have a map somewhere from the last time we went. That way I can plan based on suggestions. A few posts/comments back I listed some of the birds I HOPE I might find on plum island...If people have suggestions as to specific spots on the island for any of those, please let me know. (side note, maybe there are other spots on the island, outside the park, that I should look as well? Looking at my schedule, time will go by very quickly. Big family that we have to see, different days here and there. So I can't make any other planned trips I think... that makes me sad but I think I'll still have lots of fun. I will just wait and see on the egret and even the oystercatchers. I might not be able to chase either but if a reliable spot pops up for either I might be able to squeeze another day trip in. I have two beach days planned(sort of) One is plum island(have a question on that) and the other will be played by ear. Want to do Wingaersheek(I hate thinking about spelling that one) but that will depend. If the little egret shows up at wallis sands beach while we're up there, we're heading that way. 🙂 So we'll see. About parker river.... One year my daughter and I got there before the booth was open. So we just drove in, waited a while, then went over and paid. IF we want to get a spot for swimming at the beach at the far end, we need to get there early. What time does the booth open? What do YOU do if you get there before someone is there to take money? How early does a person need to get there to get a spot on that good beach at the end? My plan is to get there early enough to enjoy the beach at the end that doesn't have the huge undertow that the whole eastern side has. Swim with family and enjoy some time there and then drag the family around birding the rest of the refuge. 🙂
  6. anyone else ever say a short prayer about seeing a specific bird??? HA. I'm watching the reports out of NH of another little egret. That's like half the distance from my mom's house as the one up in Maine. IF that were to stick around all summer it would be awesome. But I also have to wonder about this bird. Is it the one that was down in New Jersey? Or a different one? More than one little egret in the states this year? Are they really little egrets? Are the breeding with the snowies? All sorts of questions. I'm wondering also, if more and more keep showing up if their code level will come down. Could you imagine the excitement of having a rare bird and then a couple years later it's not so rare? HA. As far as our trip goes, I think I'll play the egret by ear and just see what happens. Still unsure of what I want to do about an oystercatcher. I don't really want to go to too many unknown and hard to get to places. I HATE driving in cities... and parking is a PAIN sometimes. Would like to avoid such travel headaches but at the same time... how could I NOT try and track down some oystercatchers? Fascinating birds. The BEST way for me to do this(as far as MY plans go) would be to find a place that is good for them that might also have a beach close by... so I don't feel bad dragging the family along. Would be great if I could find some at plum island somewhere. Perhaps I'll try to get the plum island trip in early and just see what we find and then make plans for anything we still want to look for. Guess we'll see. Thoughts/advice still welcome from now til I'm heading home from there. HA. Especially still want thoughts for the stops in Ohio and New York on the way there. Do we have anyone in those areas? Should I maybe track down people to contact within the audubon societies in those areas or something along those lines? Edit: About moose bog... do you think I can find some moose on the way up there? Or how about porcupines? That would be pretty awesome. 🙂
  7. deer flies? mosquitoes? I will TRY to be prepared. Thanks for saying it more than once. Seriously.
  8. I TRY really hard to not ever get my hopes up as it's easy to chase something and fail... But... the bar charts suggest they're found there year round. https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L207476&bmo=1&emo=12&byr=1900&eyr=2019&spp=borchi2 I guess we'll just see. Could be a big place and they might be more prevalent in one corner than another or, who knows. I plan on being very thorough though. 🙂
  9. Sort of an update... Here's sort of a list of birds I might look for. Some are organized by where I MIGHT find them, or at least look for them. The list of "needs" i have would be a lot longer than this but I'll have to stick to the easiest ones to find as I wont be able to bird EVERY day. So far Moose Bog and Parker River NWR are definite stops at some point depending on weather once we're there. Those are both places I'll see some GOOD birds. Moose Bog ---------------- black-throated blue warbler * listed as being present in August bay-breasted warbler - not so likely though reported there white-winged crossbill (not likely) though reported there bicknell's thrush ruffed grouse - I can hope spruce grouse - I can hope boreal chickadee - this will be a highlight black-backed woodpecker - I hope. canada jay - can't wait. This will be a highlight. Parker River NWR ---------------- saltmarsh sparrow + hopefully, if I know where to look veery - for my daughter, hopefully if I know where to look least bittern (hellcat dike?) Would be awesome... northern gannet - had a flyover one year that my daughter missed. She didn't want to believe me. roseate tern - We can hope. lesser black-backed gull - maybe? red knot - This would be an awesome one to find, if I know where to look ruddy turnstone (hellcat) - Another one that would be awesome to see. Great Meadows (not sure if we'll stop there or not) ---------------- least bittern veery Andrew's Point, rockport (not extremely likely to go here, just seemed a good place to see the following) ---------------- Manx shearwater roseate tern lesser black-backed gull parasitic jaeger ruddy turnstone These ones, I think I'll have to be watching eBird reports to think about chasing. ---------------- evening grosbeak * (not likely) northern goshawk - uncertain/sensitive species american bittern american oystercatcher * Search when the time comes? I'm not sure we'll be visiting any of the places they're at most frequently but I REALLY want to see one. tons of other birds I wouldn't mind chasing but the bars on the bar charts got smaller and smaller and smaller so they didn't make the list this time. perhaps another year. Or perhaps I'll stumble upon some. I may play the little egret by ear. It's just one more trip to take to chase a bird that might be at one location, or somewhere else nearby. If I had a way to be in touch with some locals that could assist in chasing it that might make it a more important trip to take. 🙂
  10. Ha, that's exactly why I asked. Looking online it looked like an out in the middle of nowhere kind of place. I'm mapping everything out VERY specifically and got the point down to where it should be. I'm using Rand Mcnally's website and I may end up purchasing a gps unit from them where I can then upload my complete trips to the gps. So far I'm feeling like I can use their maps better than google's. I wish eBird's maps had certain MAJOR highways and even state lines darkened a bit to see them. I sent them a note on that. 🙂
  11. Is moose bog well labeled? I have the coordinates and it looks like I should be able to figure it out... but I've been to some hotspots that if you didn't already know where they were, you'd miss them. One locally is at the end of a farm road that leads to chicken houses. WAY back from the main road, next to those chicken houses, is a sign... but not at the main road.
  12. No worries. I'll ask some random people on facebook and if I don't get a lot of info there, I'll just call the VT parks... Having some trouble considering the little egret. We looked one year, two days in a row as we passed through that area to go to a puffin tour. I can't make a LOT of LONG birding trips but it seems that the bird, when it's there, moves a lot. Sometimes a few miles away. So I could go there and sit and wait... and wait... and wait... and miss out, yet again. Not to mention the distance. From my mom's to the marsh just south of Portland is about 1hr30m. Gilsland is another 10 minutes or so further. Do I make a special trip for that? Get up early one morning and drive up there and HOPE for the best??? Or an extra long drive back from moose bog down through the portland area? Or, forget the egret? hmmm... decisions. 😞
  13. @The Bird Nuts, do you know anything about Brighton State Park? Seems to be the closest place to camp near Moose Bog. Looks okay so far. I may just have to call the VT parks department, or ask strangers on facebook about it as it seems a popular camping place. There are comments on the facebook page from recent campers so I can get some insight there I'm sure. Wondering a few things... 1. Does it cost to camp/tent there? 2. How's the swimming temps, last half of August... hmmm 3. Firewood easy to come by or for sale? 4. How popular is it? I don't want to rent a tent site(provided it costs) too far ahead of time as I'll want to go during good weather and I wont know the weather til it's closer to the date. I also don't want to just show up assuming there's a spot to find it full. I think what I might do is try and head up there early enough to have some good daylight and do some light birding at moose bog with the whole family so they can all experience at least some of the birds. Then head over to a camp site, setup camp, relax, perhaps swim(if it isn't TOOOO cold), etc... then get up early and take one or two kids back to the bog for a little heavier birding before packing up camp and heading back to MA.
  14. Thanks... I guess we'll see what happens. UPDATE: So, I'm working on three parts to this trip and each one has to be perfect to not make it tooooooo long and not overwhelm anyone. The drive there, the drive back, and the trips to make while there. I THINK I have the drive their planned fairly well but I'll list a few spots and hope for some clarity on some. If you know any of the areas enough to be of help, please let me know. If you know anyone on the board that can advise me on particular state/locations please tag them or something. Thanks. MOST of these stops are based mostly on finding anything that's near the roads we'll be on. Missouri: We'll be stopping at Davidson Memorial Wildlife Area on Sappington RD in St Louis to pick up some eurasian tree sparrows. Not a life bird for my daughter or I but had to get a list in while passing through MO and this will do. Will be a life bird for my son and anyone else in the family that's interested. We have Jefferson Barracks Park on the list as a backup in case we strike out there. Illinois: Tempted to visit some really cool spots but it would mostly be birds we'd seen before and I don't want to go too far out of the way just to find birds I've seen before. 😞 So we're just stopping at a rest stop to do some birding there. Indiana: Sodalis Nature Park in Plainfield. Don't expect anything spectacular but looks like a nice relaxing spot not far from the highway. Originally wanted to stop at goose pond but decided that would be further from the hwy than I wanted. Ohio: (Help needed) Battle Darby Creek Metro Park in Galloway. It's a BIG place and I can't spend HOURS there, sadly. On the eBird charts for August, some needs that are found there include: Ring-necked pheasant, common gallinule, and henslow's sparrow. The first two are definitely something we'd like to find but could use direction. If we have any OH members that might have suggestions that would be helpful. Or else I might be able to contact an audubon chapter in that area to help plan a stop there. Pennsylvania: Just the welcome center on I-90 near Erie. I imagine there's some good spots nearby but most of my stops are going to be short unless there's some BIG needs to fill in the area. New York: (Help needed) Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls. According to charts there, the area could be good for: Common gallinule, virginia rail, american bittern, least bittern, sandhill crane. The latter being the most exciting by far. There are enough reports of them there I'm hoping they'll be easy to find. I (not my daughter though) have an american bittern on my list but the rest would all be life birds. This place is ENORMOUS so I'd need some direction so I don't spend a day there. Kind of stinks not being able to spend TOO much time in such a wonderful place but the longer I take to get to Massachusetts, the less time we have with family. I'm okay with that but, I'm the only one. HA. Massachusetts: (possible help needed?) Looking at the maps of I-90 across western MA, I don't see a lot of exits. This means that any spots that could be good for birding could end up a LONG drive from the highway. Unless someone knows something in the western half of the state(I've never birded out that way) I'll probably just stop at one of several service areas along the pike. Not a big deal. I plan on making any stop in that area brief as I'll be VERY anxious to get to our destination by this point. Okay, so I think I have most of that all planned... Soon I'll be working on the stops in New England and then the drive home. Oh, that reminds me. We've done plum island in the past and we love it there. Would be even better if I could get a spot at the end so my family can swim somewhere without the massive undertow... But, I'm not sure that's going to be THE best place for birding for me this time. I'm sure there are birds there that we didn't see that I could still find so, maybe. I guess I'll have to spend some serious time looking at the hotspots on eBird and see what I want to chase. I feel like the oystercatcher is a MUST find this year. Maybe I'll plan around that bird and see what kind of locations I come up with that will probably have some other good ones for us. I think planning the actual trip destinations during the stay will be my next step, and then I'll work on the drive home. phew...
  15. I'll have to explore what birds are seen there and see how many of them are NEEDS... But I may just add to my trip home(not so fun) and swing further south as it looks like there's a LOT of stilts in the memphis area. Decisions decisions... This is going to be a crazy trip I believe. This planning is giving me a headache but will allow me to get the most in with ease.
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