Sunday, September 13, 2009

East Coast, then home

September 14, 2009, Monday

My Brother Mike

Since I didn't sleep all that well, I was up way earlier than I'd wish. Went over to Tinicum NWR, officially John Heinz NWR, which turned out a good morning with three new PA tics. Back over to Mike's apartment and a long nap to make up for the previous. Later we walked up State Street, just grazing the stores. Mike's a shopper. We ended up going to visit my Mom's grave after dark. Mike knows his way around there, and knows a lot of folks buried there.

September 15, Tuesday

Got away fairly early, kept missing another brother, leaving messages. Drove south into Delaware to Bombay Hook NWR, a never miss place and source of more than half my DE tics. The big news when I got there was a Eurasian Golden-Plover found the previous day, which would have been another grand stroke of luck, but the forty or so folks along the highway couldn't re-find it. Back into the refuge proper, some good birds, but couldn't find any Buff-breasted Sandpipers no matter what. Still added one tic.

Further south to Assateague National Seashore. Now it used to be that it was also part of Chincoteague NWR, and I could get in with my duck stamp, but they had changed that, and wanted the price of a week's pass to enter. $25 for a couple of hours of birding was a ridiculous rip-off, so they got nothing. Funny that I still got a couple of good birds in the borrow pits along the road in. So there! I headed on down to Chincoteague NWR proper, and had a great time. Spent four hours driving the tour loops and working the beach and back-water, finding thirteen new VA tics. Hit the timing perfect as I'd finally caught up with the southbound shorbies. Stayed at the Bridge-Tunnel parking lot for about the fourth time.

September 16, Wednesday

Had a tiny sliver of the moon with Venus in the morning before poking around in the refuge next to the parking area, Eastern Shore of Virginia, then crossed into Norfolk. No stops in Virginia, just headed into North Carolina, wanted to get to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Spent a couple of hours at Nag's Head Woods, then on down to Pea Island NWR. I did really good there, the tide was out, went looking for Piping Plovers by the inlet, and found Snowy and Wilson's also. Also some good birds on the landward side, including a small group of Roseate Spoonbills. Kinda unexpected, but heard later that they had shown up at Cape May as well.

Drove back up to Nag's head for library wifi, and then stayed at the Oregon Inlet campground. Added 12 tics for NC, thanks to shorebird timing luck. Getting closer to ABA threshold for there, it's one of the scattered eastern states I want to make the list on to have a good feel for that region.

September 17, Thursday

There was a little light when I got up, after a good night's sleep with the sound of the ocean. Back into Nag's Head for breakfast and more library wifi before morning birding in the Woods. Nothing special showed up, so headed on out to Pocosin Lakes NWR, last of the big refuges on that interior cape that I'd not checked out. Disappointing, very few birds, roads and signage were very poor too. Then headed west on the Interstate through the endless cities of NC, finally fetched up at Pilot Mountain State Park, which was a sweet place, neat piece of geography that I'd never heard of. A tidy little park with good habitat, misty twilight when I got there, with Wood Thrushes.

September 18, Friday

I had hoped to spend some time at Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee, but the morning drizzle turned to steady rain as I drove west, and I just kept driving. Finally stayed at David Crockett SP near Lawrenceburg, which was funky and cheap.

September 19, Saturday

Again woke in drizzle that changed to rain. Just went home.

I ended up adding 164 total tics, many shorebirds which had been the hope, but not as many in New England as in the Mid-Atlantic area. Only saw 205 species for the whole trip, which sorta reflected the transitional time of the trip, weak on summer breeders, and weak on winter refugees.


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