Today is June 30th, the exact middle of my Big Year. I can’t believe how much has already happened and how much is still to come. I have now seen 676 species in the ABA region. If I take time to reflect on that number, I get truly overwhelmed. I’ve accomplished a lot and the possibilities that lie ahead fill me with renewed enthusiasm.
My number 676 was Connecticut Warbler. It was very hard won. You may recall from my post last week that w…e tried to find this bird 3 different days in the UP in Michigan where it had been reported. I had also tried hard during migration in the Keys. Any birder will tell you how difficult it is to find.
John Richardson had guided me in Minnesota earlier in the year and had told me that he could lead me to a Connecticut Warbler if all else failed. I used this lifeline and flew to Minneapolis for basically one shot at finding it. I think John knew I’d be making the call.
I had a whole day to try and find it myself. I spent Thursday at Sax-Zim Bog trying to hear it singing. It was drizzling and very windy. Conditions were not good for hearing birds and Friday’s forecast looked dire. I was crestfallen on Thursday evening.
John met me at 6 a.m. on Friday and the weather was decent. The wind had died down and it was cloudy but it wasn’t raining. We went directly to the Bog and on our drive, we spotted a Wolf walking along the railroad track. We stopped the car and it moved quickly into the fields. I’ve been wanting to see a Wolf in the wild for so long! We had nice, long looks but had to move quickly to our goal.
John had marked the spot where he’d last had a Connecticut and we tried there first. He heard one in the distance but a truck came by and drowned it out. Normally it’s very quiet here but there was utility work going on and construction vehicles were around. We had success at our third stop. Good thing that John had netting for me to wear or I’d been eaten alive. My gear is scattered through the countryside and I never seem to have what I need for the habitat.
It was a great find but I had no time to indulge this bird. I had a 21/2 hour drive back to Minneapolis to catch a flight to Denver at 5:30.
I’m using the summer to travel like crazy and pick up a bird or two in different states. There just aren’t that many land birds left for me to find in the lower 48.
So, just barely made my flight and sitting in Denver waiting for the McQuades to arrive for our next chase. Stay tuned….