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AR to New England reports...


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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:

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.

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25 minutes ago, blackburnian said:

ANY trip with White-winged Crossbills is a successful one...

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.

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