1) Getting 32 species of warblers in a day always has to be a highlight, but getting 30 species by 10am has to be some kind of a record!
2) Having an adult Goshawk soaring over the ridge above Culver's Lake while we searched for migrant warbler flocks there.
3) Having Ravens calling while we made an unplanned bathroom break at High Point park headquarters. The bathrooms were locked though.
4) Zach's list of the hardest birds in the North is still unfinished, but he picked Grouse and Winter Wren so far. We got them both this year and from the same spot no less!
5) Very few teams were in the Great Swamp this year because most of it was walk in only. This made for some fantastic listening conditions and we got what we needed there in pretty good time and also picked up a bonus of a calling White-throated Sparrow which was very tough this year.
6) After scouring the South unsuccessfully for Bobwhite ( We think the snowy winter did them in) we managed to whistle in the only reliable one I could find in only 10 minutes while we hunkered behind a hedgerow even while the wind was blowing 30mph!
7) Getting all the Southern Breeders in only about 20 minutes even though the afternoon was warm and windy.
8) For the second year in a row we had a Harrier at our Barn Owl spot saving us lots of time scanning marshes for that tough to nail down bird.
9) Doing our seawatching, but not finding the usual tern flock there. This meant we missed Jaeger, Black Tern, Bonapart's Gull and Roseate Tern again, but we still got Red-breasted Merganser (4), Brown Pelican (2), and Royal Tern (2) while we "wasted" some time there.
10) Having a second perfect night for listening on Saturday and actually having too many rails calling (clappers) to have any chance at Black Rail at Turkey Point. At around 10:40 the marsh suddenly got quiet and a single Black Rail started to call from not too far away to end our day.
1) After sweating Cattle Egret all week, we had 4 spots lined up where they were hanging out, only we dipped at all 4 spots and mised it for the first time in many years.
2) Getting pulled over by a cop while driving North from Great Swamp. We were lucky we had our "old guy" driving and he did his best confused senior citizen imitation and got off with a warning. We even got directions from the cop because we told him we were lost (we lied).
3) Backing hard into a telephone pole we couldn't see, but somehow we didn't damage the minivan. Only our pride was damaged and we didn't find anything new at that spot either.
4) Missing the Harlequin Duck we had found scouting , but our youth team got it right where we looked for it just before us!?
5) Getting most of our target species from the Gull Tower at Brigantine just as the killer swarm of no-see-ums and mosquitos decended upon us. It was so bad we couldn't see or breathe and we couldn't get the bug dope on fast enough. I'm still scratching bites...
6) Scouting Heislerville impoundments all week and it was fabulous for birds (see my pics on blog) only to arrive there on WSB to find it desolate and empty? We pretty much wasted a good half an hour there for nothing of value, but that happens sometimes.
7) Missing both species of Kinglets. No Golden-crowned along our route this year for the first time and we seem to miss Ruby-crowned almost every year for some reason.
8) Zach had to tramp around the marsh for almost 10 minutes (in my boots that barely fit him) before we finally managed to flush (barely) a Saltmarsh Sparrow that was so ratty looking that I actualy felt guilty counting him (I'm over it now).
9) Our minivan just plain sucked this year. The doors rattled, the brakes squeeked, and you had to jam the accelerator through the floor (I did it a lot!) only to have the car respond seconds later with some moderate acceleration. I lost some high range hearing from those squeeky brakes, but I think it may have attracted some birds (or frightened them away). It did survive my wild driving though including my "Dukes of Hazzard" railroad grade where I launch the vehicle every year to watch the guys in the backseat hit their heads on the ceiling of the van. It's one of the little pleasures of driving the entire last 11 hours of the event.
10) Having a bike race round Culver's Lake while we tried to bird it. We somehow managed to not kill any of them.
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