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millipede

AR to New England

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14 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Funny you ask.  We ended up turning around on 105 because we accidentally drove right past the road the trailhead is on (South America Pond Rd.).  It's not the easiest to find, but it's not really difficult either.

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. 🙂

 

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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. 🙂

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Lot 1 in Parker River NWR is where I saw my first Saltmarsh Sparrow.  And we also got a Least Bittern at Hellcat.

Not that I really know a lot about Moose Bog, but I wouldn't count on seeing a Boreal Chickadee there.  I think they are the least likely of the "Boreal Grand Slam" to be seen there.

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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. 🙂

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I do remember the entrance to Moose Bog being a small, unflashy, roadside trailhead. Again, bring bug spray or a bug proof hat. I didn’t have Boreal Chickadee there, but didn’t really look that hard for them. You could consider Scarborough Marsh in Maine for a lot of your Marsh birds, as I believe that’s a location the Little Egret is seen. 

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deer flies? mosquitoes?
I will TRY to be prepared. Thanks for saying it more than once. Seriously.

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Posted (edited)

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. 🙂

Edited by millipede
just because

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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. 🙂 

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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.

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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?

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26 minutes ago, millipede said:

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?

We've only been there once, but we had the most success along the first half of the trail.  The birds will come to you if they want food, so just have it ready.  We were greeted by a hungry RB Nuthatch right at the trailhead and it followed us down the trail.  I'm sure they'd come anywhere on the trail (the trail is really short), but I'd stay away from the busier paved road when hand-feeding.

We visited in April, so we didn't have to deal with the bugs.

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On 6/7/2019 at 2:19 PM, blackburnian said:

Again, bring bug spray or a bug proof hat.

 

On 6/13/2019 at 12:03 PM, millipede said:

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.

 

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.

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I'm SO glad I'm planning this all well in advance as things are still going SLOW.

@blackburnian, let me know how bad the bugs are there. I need to be prepared, especially if my sister decides to check it out too. I don't mind mosquitoes much myself

 

I'm still attempting to get in touch with some contacts about the spots I intend to bird at on the way to MA.  
Battele Darby Creek near Columbus Ohio is one...  For now I might need to go study the eBird reports in case I don't hear from anyone. I contacted the Columbus Audubon but that was almost completely useless. I emailed them with no response. Posted on their FB page and so far all I got was a link to some nature photographer's website suggesting I could try contacting him. Looked at his site like 4 or 5 days ago and emailed him using the contact info there. No reply so far. So now I've messaged him on Facebook as well but people don't see their messages there half the time(if they're coming from a stranger)   
Anyone on here from the Columbus area that knows that location well?     My plan is to maybe look for common gallinules and a henslow's sparrow but the real bird I'd want to chase there would be the ring-necked pheasant. Again, I may end up having to rely on eBird info... but I'd LOVE it if I could talk to someone that is VERY familiar with the location that might be able to say "go to this section of the place, that's a good spot to find them."     I honestly can't believe that the Columbus Audubon couldn't help me a little better than they did. If someone contacted the Audubon in Arkansas they would have been given specific info by now.  And I'm not even a member either.  eh, oh well.

and Montezuma NWR in NY, I haven't been able to get any help with that one yet either. I'm kind of surprised. Our top bird to look for there is going to be sandhill cranes(not telling my daughter about some of these things) and the eBird reports suggest they're likely that time of year there. The question is... where? That refuge is like 10,000 acres or something. It's BIG.  I can't spend an entire day there so guidance is needed. I think I already tried contacting someone through a contact form on a website. No response. So I may be resorting to eBird data for this as well. 😞  I like searching eBird data but looking for exact locations that birds are found in doesn't always work. I mean, there are people here that will just report to a random spot on a map to say they birded SOMEWHERE in the town. And not many people put in specific info on birds within a hotspot.
Anyone familiar with this refuge and the birds there? Or know who I could contact? The cranes are the #1 bird I want to find on this whole drive but we'd also be interested in looking at/for bitterns(either) and virginia rails. I think given the habitat there, they could be anywhere within the refuge... and given their behavior, it might just be a matter of luck finding them. we'll see.


Our trip home has changed a little. We originally considered looking for black-necked stilts in the Memphis area but ended up getting advice to check out Bald Knob in Arkansas... a location we've hoped to go to for a few years now and with our planned trip home, wasn't very far out of the way. That should be a wonderful stop on the way back that should give us the stilts and possibly a few other life birds.

phew... well, back to trying to figure it all out.
 

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