Lifers indicated in bold* (more on this later)
You might look at this old screenshot and be thinking “oh no! What happened?” My answer is that a couple of things have happened. To start, I've been extremely busy with schoolwork and studying for exams, which cuts down on my birding time as many young birders know the hard way. I also have been sick on and off lately, also cutting into my birding time. On the very few occasions I left Syracuse between chapter 9 and now, they haven't been for birding, although I submitted checklists on both of them. The first one I should note is my ichthyology class's trip to the National Aquarium, where I got a little obsessive with taking pictures, my best pics are attached below
The second trip outside of Syracuse was for Principles of Evolution to a Devonian fossil quarry in Tully and the Museum of the Earth, which (among other cool things) houses the most complete specimen of an American Mastodon found in New York that was recovered from a backyard pond in Hyde Park (if you've seen enough Uhaul trucks on the road, the ones for New York with a mammoth/mastodon are a reference to this find, that's a story for another time). Unfortunately, my phone died, so I don't have any pictures of it, although I cleaned off the fossils I found and took pictures with ID
The Black-tailed Godwit in New Jersey reported minutes after I booked a surprise flight home that I wanted to chase had unfortunately left the spot it was seen at before I had a chance to return, so I needed a backup rarity. I had heard about a reliable spot for Black-headed Gulls in northern New Jersey on eBird, but since the spot was directly under private property, I lost out when my parents suggested going to a park along the waterfront but I wanted to stay in the area (ugh). As you can tell by my reaction, scanning the Bonaparte's Gulls on the beach revealed no Black-headed Gulls, and I was approached by a dog off leash (I do NOT like dogs, just a warning)
When I announced my plans to look for the Barn Owl in Central Park, Ryan Zucker asked what time I would be there. Not suspecting anything, I told him I would be there around 1:30. My mom's original plan was to get the owl, eat lunch at the Boathouse, and then go home, all while trying to avoid running into anyone they knew, but I could tell Ryan had other things in mind. When we got to the park I went ahead to the spot the owl was seen at while my dad tried to find a parking spot. Several birders were at the roost site by the time I got there, including one I recognized. I figured Ryan would want to meet me there! With a little help help from Ryan, I spotted the Barn Owl very high up.
You thought this would be a lifer? Well, not exactly; I first saw a wild Barn Owl on a trip to Australia long before I was a birder, but haven't seen any since then. Additionally, one of the proposals in this year's AOS Check-list Supplement is to split Barn Owl into three species: American, Western, and Eastern. If the proposal passes, I will have added one lifer in this chapter.
Leaving the Barn Owl, we decided to look for the Yellow-throated Warbler in the Ramble and possibly a Louisiana Waterthrush, and ran into my parents, who had run into people they knew as well (my mom wanted to avoid this). I told my parents that Ryan and I were going to look for more birds, and that I would hopefully be back within an hour. The first place we stopped was at the feeders, where interestingly enough, a Chipping Sparrow was perched on a pinecone feeder. When we got to the Yellow-throated Warbler spot, a large group of people was waiting. Several warblers and sparrows hopped around the water's edge, and one of my targets perched on a log across from us: a Louisiana Waterthrush. After an hour of waiting, the Yellow-throated Warbler made an appearance! Moving on, we looked for other county yearbirds. We also discussed a lot of things from birding trips to things happening with our fellow young birders, and I also gave Ryan some advice on the biology SAT II exams. To get back to the Barn Owl spot to get photos, we had to go back through the Yellow-throated spot, where more people were waiting for it to show up, including two of Ryan's friends from high school. Shortly after, my dad called asking where we were, that's when I knew that Ryan and I were going to have to wrap it up after successfully getting three yearbirds and birding for just over two hours and walking a little over two miles. My parents had already eaten lunch by the time we got back to the Boathouse (I wasn't hungry anyway). As we were leaving, Ryan informed me that this was only a sampling of what was to come in May, when I come home from college and can bird whenever I can.
To be continued...
The YB Odyssey Facebook Page
My Flickr site
Leica Nature Observation Blog
Young Birders of the Round Table
crazed4birds (Drew Beamer)
Blue Ridge Birding (Max Nootbaar)
Whimbrel Birders Club
The Eyrie (ABA Young Birders)
The Birding Place (Aidan Place)
Lost In Nature (Jared Gorrell)
Bird Boy Canada (Ethan Denton)
Prairie Birder (Charlotte Wasylik)
Wing Tips (Tessa Rhinehart)
Soar Birding & Nature Tours (Noah Kuck)
Setophaga dominica (Oscar Wilhelmy)
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