Tuesday, December 18, 2012

De Plan! De Plane!

The plan was to leave the car in Seattle, I would fly to Chicago, John to Boston and back to Chicago, then we would both fly to Miami, back to Seattle to pick up the car and drive home after January 1st.

When John looked at the possible flights from Seattle to Boston this morning, he decided he didn't need to fly back there just for the Northern Lapwing. He didn't want to go for the Barnacle Goose in New York City. The Little Egret was moving around a lot and looked a lot like a Snowy Egret.  He already looked in the same area for the Northern Lapwing unsuccessfully. 1000 dollars for one bird he might not even find? Nah.

Now the plan is to drive back home to Southern California before flying anywhere.

We started down the 101 from Port Angeles, checking out inland side roads. Small flocks of Golden-Crowned Sparrows were everywhere. In SOCAL they skulk around in chaparral. We saw several Varied Thrushes and John got good pictures. A few years ago, we found one on the end of the gravel spit out of Point Barrow. The poor bird forgot to stop flying north in the spring and ran out of land.

Along the sound, we watched a large raft of Surf Scoters all dive underwater at once. Now you see them, now you don't, and repeat. There were lots of Barrow's and Common Goldeneyes, Green-Winged Teal, American Widgeons, Mallards, Red-Breasted Mergansers, Buffleheads and a few Horned Grebes. AND a pair of Harlequin Ducks! John saw lots of them in Alaska, but I haven't seen them very often. We spotted a Pigeon Guillemot in winter plumage, too. Our last stop along the shore, there were at least three American Dippers feeding where a small stream flowed into the sound. What fun!

No, John did not get any new birds for his big year today. He is still at 686. He needs a plan and a few planes to get a few more birds before January 1st.

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