Thursday, April 26, 2012

The end of the Texas trip, a new PA lifer, and some updates

Let's wrap up the excitement (that's now over two months old!) from Texas. After driving back in the rain to San Antonio, doing a serious car washing on the rental, and spending some quality time with the family, Gretchen, sister Mary, niece and junior birder Lilia, and I went to a couple of local SA lakes, Calaveras and Braunig, in search of Eared Grebes that had been seen during the previous weeks.

Here's what we saw:

 a sweet little Bufflehead about to dive

a beautiful Cinnamon Teal

 a little Killdeer digging a scrape for a nest

 a skulky Black-crowned Night Heron

tons of cute little Field Sparrows doing 
their bouncing ping-pong-ball calls

and YES! Our first Eared Grebe!
What a thrill! We ended up the Texas trip with a ridiculous number of lifers, even for me on my third trip down. I now have a whopping 336 lifebirds, if you count this little gem we saw a couple of weeks ago here in PA:
 Rusty Blackbirds! Not a great photo. 

How about this one?
Female Rusty Blackbirds! The neat thing about these birds was how easy it was to tell them apart from the Red-winged Blackbirds. Gretchen and I had debated several times about whether we'd able to spot a rusty among a flock of red-wings. Their size and coloring, however, made it obvious: they were almost blue, and the ones that hadn't quite finished their molting had little brown feathers mixed in, just like in the field guides.

To catch you up on recent events, AB and I celebrated our third year together by taking a trip to the Finger Lakes. We saw Taughannock Falls:
and hiked around the gorges, and we doodled in some great locally owned small bookstores and antique stores around Trumansburg, Ithaca, and Interlaken. We pretty much lived it up!

We're also getting to the specific planning -- choosing last workday dates, planning our trip to California to pick up the rest of my belongings, and looking for jobs in Maine and Massachusetts. Yes, folks, we're moving on! AB and I are both pretty tired of this little burg and its undergrad-drinking focus; we'll be leaving in August.

Where we'll go, nobody knows.

Well, actually, it'll be somewhere in Maine (probably Portland?) or Massachusetts (not in Boston - too expensive - but nearby).


Patrick B. said...

Portland, Maine is very nice. We took a short vaca there a few years ago. Cool city vibe and nice people. Congrats on the lifers!

John Beetham said...

Northeastern Massachusetts has some great birding in the winter, and I imagine Maine does, too.

Rabbits' Guy said...

itchy feet makes for great birding I guess!

dguzman said...

Hey Patrick! How's the family? I hear only good things about Portland, and we have been looking at some good housing possibilities there. Trouble is, the jobs seem to be in Mass, where housing is waaaay more expensive....

John - I know! I want to be near the coast; I want some eiders and puffins!

Rabbits' Guy - I DO have the itchy feet. I just can't settle anywhere yet.