Finally connected! Due to a combination of wrong place at wrong time over the years I'd failed to connect with this species. Last night put things right with the help of Marilyn Westphal and Mark Simpson. They went to great lengths to help me see this bird for which I am very grateful. Thank you both. The location was high up on the Blue Ridge Parkway...
469 MILESconnecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
I'm writing this from Hendersonville, North Carolina. We travelled here through heavy Good Friday traffic from the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia...we did the tour.
The reason we're here is that I'm trying to add AMERICAN WOODCOCK to my ABA list! I've had to travel north to the mountains to find a "micro climate" that means the birds are still displaying at this time. I have a good contact and I'll be trying this evening. The weather has been poor here but it's improving gradually.
The first day in the Miami area proved fruitful with 2 ABA ticks. Firstly I saw a LA SAGRA'S FLYCATCHER on Key Largo. The fact that I saw it at midday in 100 degree heat was VERY fortunate!
We then spent a wonderful afternoon/evening in the Everglades. Excellent views of many species plus sightings of Crocodile and Alligator! I finally managed to add SHINY COWBIRD to my ABA list.
Next it was onto the Ft Myers area. Another superb location and a sighting of EURASIAN WIGEON!
My MANGROVE CUCKOO efforts have so far proved unsuccessful...although I have tried...hard. Ding Darling, Sanibel Island and Bunche Beach were scoured but to no avail. I have a contact for my return trip and 4 days down at Key West, so plenty of time yet? You can only stare into mangroves whilst getting eaten for so long!
No pics as too time consuming. I'll save those for later.
...and I missed the CRAG MARTIN. At least I was in the country (not like last year)...alas I was on the Buz. I missed the previous Yorkshire bird (18/4/1999) as my 2 young boys were playing football. I had seen it the previous day in Leicestershire however.
This will be my last riveting post before we leave on Sunday morning.
My final thought involves my little friend down the lane. He's kept me entertained morning and evening for the past 10 days, belting out his wonderful song with amazing enthusiasm. If any bird deserves to find a mate, then this bird is surely it.
Busy day tomorrow. Got to get sorted for Sunday...lots to do as I'm working Friday and Saturday.
Hard to believe we'll wake up Monday morning in Miami. As stated previously I'll try and post some highlights on the Blog if possible. I've got plenty of info' regarding my target birds and I'm pretty confident I'll connect with them all...except one?
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER will be a miracle sighting on the trip to the Dry Tortugas...but it is possible! I would definitely get it on one of the three day trips. Three reasons this isn't happening. 1. Louise! 2. Seasickness!! 3. Cost!!!
Locally, I took Bud down to Sammy's again this evening. We spent a pleasant hour in lovely Spring-like conditions and I managed to finally locate another Wheatear...
Probably my last session before we head for the States on Sunday, so I wanted to make the most of it! Things started well with a local Song Thrush belting it out from the treetops...
Next stop was Easington were I took the lane down to Sammy's. This was the area I saw some Fieldfares the other day. Today there were more thrushes but this time it was the turn of the Redwings. They were very skittish and when they did land it was only very briefly.
With patience though I managed to grab a few shots...
There were at least 500 between the Cemetery and the car park at Sammy's. A fine sight indeed!
The afternoon was spent packing my case (under orders) as time will be limited before we leave. I managed to escape again around five and I decided to return to Sammy's to see if the flock was still about. It wasn't! They'd obviously moved on. It was however great to have witnessed this obvious visible migration of thrushes returning north.
I parked the car and made my way with Bud down the path by the Humber. Dark clouds were threatening heavy rain but we carried on. Once I reached the main group of bushes I cut across towards the main ditch. As I reached it I looked along and there perched right in front of me was a Kingfisher!!! (P.94, S.57)
It flew off down the ditch but fortunately landed some 50yds away...
Very dark by now but this perched image is passable, considering...
After a couple of minutes it flew swiftly passed again and disappeared towards Kilnsea...
This was the first record for the Spurn area this year.
The heavens had now opened and we headed back towards the car. My efforts were further rewarded when a Swallow (P.95, S.58) flew over my head, followed almost immediately by 3 Sand Martins! (P.96, S.59). Possibly brought down by the heavy rain?
Driving back I passed the usual haunts including Out Newton. I timed it just right as the Barn Owl was just emerging for it's evening patrol...
A much better day than anticipated. You just never know...do you?