Florida Offers A Mid-winter Reprieve

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I admit it—sometimes I’m spoiled. It’s mid-winter here in Colorado, but we just returned from a road trip to Florida, courtesy of an invitation from some much-appreciated friends. Even on the coldest days, the beach was so much nicer than the snow arriving at home! Continue reading “Florida Offers A Mid-winter Reprieve”

Birding Hamden Slough NWR

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I hadn’t really planned to spend time birding in Minnesota. We were on a road trip around the Great Lakes, and we had finally turned toward home. But my high expectations for Whitefish Point, in northeastern Michigan, had been squelched by high winds, and we decided to cut and run, saving the time to spend someplace more accommodating and birdy. That someplace turned out to be Hamden Slough NWR.

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Anticipating Florida

Forster's Tern_MerrittIslandNWR-FL_LAH_4279

Pete and I have been invited to visit friends in Florida next month. Of course, we accepted the invitation! I’ve arranged time off from work, I’ve made my packing list, and our house sitter is all lined up (with instructions on keeping the feeders filled). Now I’m eagerly counting the days until we leave.

While there are plenty of logistics involved in escaping winter for a couple of weeks, I’m also trying to prepare for birding in a relatively unfamiliar location. Yes, I’ve been to Florida before—twice, in fact—but it’s not my usual birding location, and those aren’t my usual birds.

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A Goose with Pink Feet

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Have you heard? There’s a Pink-footed Goose at Milavec Reservoir (about 30 minutes north of Denver)! The word spread quickly throughout Colorado’s birding community. This was amazing. This was incredible!

As the Audubon website explains,

Although many Pink-footed Geese nest in Greenland and Iceland, these birds all migrate across the North Atlantic to spend the winter in Britain and northwestern Europe. Strays that have gone the wrong direction have been found in North America only a couple of times, in eastern Canada.

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Is that a Northwestern Crow?

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I spent Thanksgiving week in the Pacific Northwest, visiting family (granddaughters!) and friends. Somehow, in the midst of tickles and snuggles, craft projects, and a delicious turkey dinner, I managed to squeeze in an hour of birding—and it wasn’t even raining.

Since we were in Federal Way for lunch that day, we headed for the tiny Dumas Bay Sanctuary. And I do mean tiny. If you walk north along the narrow beach, you quickly run into signs warning of private property. And if you head south instead, the park boundary markers stop you after only a few yards. At least the birds have permission to trespass, and we birders have binoculars.

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Birding Niagara Falls

2017-08-29 14.54.40(If you’ve just tuned in, this is the fourth post in a series about our 2017 trip around the Great Lakes.)

By the time we left Grand Rapids, I had spent some enjoyable mornings birding Michigan while my husband, Pete, had attended a number of successful meetings. We had also visited two of the four states I had been missing, moving me that much closer to my goal of visiting all fifty. The trip was going well. And  now it was time for Pete to check off his own bucket list dream.

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Birding Michigan, Part 2: Shiawassee NWR

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On the bank of the Shiawassee River, in central Michigan, Shiawassee NWR was touted as “a critical migration stopover site for waterfowl.” We were there on the last day of August, just over a year ago. With habitats ranging from marshes to forests to prairie, and a long list of bird species, some of which I’ve rarely (if ever) seen, I was hoping to see more than just waterfowl.

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