Friday, May 12, 2006

World Series of Birding: Friday

Today’s sunny, dry weather allowed a return visit to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Now, some folks might think I’m crazy to drive three hours north to revisit the NYC refuge that I explored yesterday, but there is a method to my madness.

Yesterday’s visit was a “Well, Friday’s weather might put the kibosh on Jamaica Bay, so I’ll visit it after the red-eye lands in Philly to make sure that I finally see the site.” Today’s visit was a “Cool. I get to meet Mike Bergin, who lives nearby and knows the site.”

Mike blogs at 10,000 Birds and founded the bird blogosphere’s biweekly carnival, I and the Bird, almost a year ago. He’s a great blogger (much more of a thinker than I am) and a great birding companion.

We walked around West Pond, following the loop trail that I walked on Thursday morning. With Mike, though, I saw more species today than my eyes detected or my brain recognized yesterday. Mike pointed out Brown Thrasher, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Red-breasted Merganser, Gadwall and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

The highlight for me, aside from the amiable conversation, was walking into North Garden and watching the colorful birds eating amid the greenery. We watched Black-throated Green Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Parula, White-throated Sparrow and Eastern Towhee before returning to the gravel trail.

The garden enchanted me with its many paths, tall vegetation and various treasures. I look forward to my next visit and my next opportunity to visit with Mike. Thank you for a delightful outing, Mike!

After returning to Cape May… wait, I need to commend New Jersey drivers for a minute. For the most part, Garden State drivers follow the rule of staying to the right and moving into the left lanes only to pass. I really like that and dearly wish that SoCal drivers were as observant of the principle; it would make freeway driving much more efficient.

Anyhoo, after returning to Mile 0 on the Garden State Parkway, I indulged in tiramisu for dessert and then walked across the street to the beach. The bright moon hung over the slowly breaking, small waves.

While strolling on the damp sand, I sent good thoughts to the fellows of Zen Zugunruhe, who were resting up before the midnight start of their Big Day. They’d spent the day scouting Cape May Island, the “limited geographic area” that they’ve covered for years in the World Series.

This year, Zen Zugunruhe has some bonafide competition from four other teams that will focus on the area south of the Cape May Canal. I hope to run into the Zen guys during the day and hear how they’re faring before seeing them tonight at the Finish Line before 11:59 p.m.

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