Sunday, June 17, 2012

New England Friendly Encounters

When we visited Machias Seal Island 40 years ago, we camped near Cutler, Maine. I remembered the bay that totally emptied of water at every low tide. John remembered the fireflies. He had never seen them before. Across from the campground there is now a wildlife refuge. The bird list had at least 12 birds John needed that were supposedly easy see there. He heard an Alder Flycatcher. If I hadn't gotten earphones and recording equipment for him, he wouldn't have gotten that.

Off to New Hampshire, for the Bicknell's Thrush. By the time John got to the road up Mt Washington Friday afternoon, June 15th, it was closed in preparation for a race Saturday morning. He would not have access until Saturday afternoon.  Saturday evening he had to return to Portland, Maine. Another pothole in the road to his big year.

Then the birding gods smiled down on John. He met Jim and Margaret Vernon on Cap's Ridge Trail to Mt Jefferson. They helped him get the Mourning Warbler, Winter Wren, Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher and the BICKNELL'S THRUSH. Thank you so much, Jim and Margaret.

Now John had time to drive back to Maine and Scarborough Marsh Saturday. He stopped at the visitor cente, and, manning the desk, was Doug Hitchcox, who was with John on Attu. Doug would be free after 4:30 to help John with those little brown jobbies he had missed on his previous visit to the marsh. They found both the Nelson's and the Salt Marsh Sparrows! Thank you so much, Doug.

John has a lot more success when he gets help from fellow birders. Birding is a team sport. His big year total will be due to many such friendly encounters.

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