May 16, 2007

North, to Alaska... the rush is on

Okay, this is it. We leave in a couple hours for our long-awaited Washington / Alaska trip! GBT plays a couple dances in Seattle on Thursday and Friday nights. Then on Saturday we fly to Anchorage. I think we spend four or five days in Homer, AK (on the coast) birding, sightseeing, hiking, appreciating the local culture (oh, who am I kidding... just BIRDING!!!) before playing at the aptly named Dancing Bears Dance Camp in Wasilla, AK (north of Anchorage). We'll be gone about two weeks I think. My North American year list is currently at 239 so my goal is to break 300 on this trip. Farthest west I've been so far was Texas; this will be totally different from anything I've done before. I have been looking forward to this trip for months. I'll take lots of pictures; posting again in June probably. Wish us luck!

May 10, 2007

Birds: Cape May trip

I spent a couple days birding in southern New Jersey this week. I left Manlius early Monday morning and came back Wednesday afternoon. Migration was kind of slow by their standards but I still had lots of great new birds. On May 7th I went to Heislerville in search of a previously reported Curlew Sandpiper. No luck with that bird but I did have hundreds if not thousands of Dunlin and Dowitchers, breeding plumage RED KNOTS and RUDDY TURNSTONES, GLOSSY IBIS, BLACK SKIMMERS and other typical costal birds. My 200th year bird was a soaring PEREGRINE FALCON. Also had my first looks at a singing YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Life Bird). In the evening I headed down to Cape May where I had a pair of GULL-BILLED TERNS, lots of WHIMBREL and Clapper Rails. On May 8th I started in Cape May where I had an adult PARASITIC JAEGER harassing the terns off the point. This was the first time I’d ever seen a jaeger in adult plumage. Next I visited several places for passerines and had many more or less expected southern species including SUMMER TANAGER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER and BLUE GROSBEAK (Life Bird). In the afternoon I headed north to Belleplain Forest (picking up my fos SEASIDE SPARROWS on the way) where I had several singing WORM-EATING WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS and an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER. I saw almost as many birders during my trip as I saw birds. This is Pierre and Francine from Quebec. I headed back down to Cape May that evening as well and picked up MARBLED GODWIT and an adult breeding plumage GREAT CORMORANT (Life Bird) on Nummy Island. That night, while listening for rails at Jakes Landing, I heard a horrific screeching noise that I believe was a BARN OWL (Life Bird). On May 9th I picked up a few more birds at Belleplain again (including my first looks at a Worm-eating Warbler) and had a pair of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS at Tamerland (sp?) campground off Route 9. That afternoon I headed up to...

Forsythe (Brigantine) NWR which, aside from some BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, was mostly just more of the same stuff I’d already seen. I think my trip list came to 130 with 5 life birds and 35 new year birds. This morning I had some great migrants along Lake Ontario. The highlight was three beautiful male CAPE MAY WARBLERS; finally a decent look! Also had my fos Chestnut-sided, Magnolia and Blackburnian Warblers, at least six LINCOLN’S SPARROWS and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

My year list is now at 233.

May 04, 2007

Birds: Closing in on #200

This week I've been able to get out and do a lot of birding. Mostly normal stuff although breeding plumage Red-necked and Horned Grebes on Oneida Lake and seeing two Barred Owls at Whiskey Hollow were certainly highlights. This morning I had a single male CAPE MAY WARBLER at Great Bear, although it was one of the worst looks and toughest IDs I've had in a while (it was just so far away, couldn't get a good look through the trees). Anyway, my big news is that on Monday I leave for a couple days of birding in Cape May, New Jersey. I hope to get there around 1:00 PM on Monday and leave sometime Wednesday afternoon. Some of my goal birds are Great Cormorant, Black Rail, some southern warblers (Kentucky, Yellow-throated, Worm-eating, Prothonotary), Sharp-tailed and Seaside Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak and Black Skimmer. Not to mention shorebirds and terns galore. I've also got my fingers crossed that the Curlew Sandpiper that's been down there for several days sticks around a couple days more. Should be a lot of fun. I've picked up a nice assortment of migrants this week, bringing my 2007 North American year list up to 192. What will be number 200? It'll probably be one of my first birds in NJ but I might be able to get eight more before I leave. We'll see. That's all for now.

May 03, 2007

Spring Things

Sorry about the lack of postings for the past few weeks. Things have been going great here. I've been birding a lot lately but I'll leave that for another post. Let's see, I'll post some pics I guess.

After many long, lonely, heart-wrenching years of separation, Noah was reunited with the tattered remains of what may have once been a pair of sneakers he left at a house in Philadelphia back in 2005.

Larry, Eden and Sam - Notorious to say the least. We got to hang out with these fine folks at the Dandelion Romp in Oberlin, OH.

Last week was the Fourth Annual Syracuse Contra Prom!

Noah and I once again joined forces with the Marcus brothers and Michael Ferguson to form our very fun, high-energy, extremely loud alter-ego band Giant Robot Dance. We even have mascots now! You never know what's going to happen at Contra Prom. It can get pretty crazy...