Monday, June 26, 2006

ABA: Saturday

The last Acadia National Park field trip of the convention began under wet skies, but that certainly didn't stop us from looking for birds or enjoying the scenery. At first, the weather did stop me from being quite as snap-happy as anticipated, but the falling water occasionally relented.

The first order of business: the King Eider at the seawall. He obliged us with good views among the Common Eiders and Black Scoters riding the swells. (Click on an image to see a larger version.)

We walked up the road and encountered Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Gray Catbird, American Robin, Black-capped Chickadee and Black-throated Green Warbler before retreating to the two buses.

That's Mike Freiberg, one of the field trip leaders, on the far left. Ted Floyd's also in the pic, but he's facing away unfortunately. The excursion's other leaders included Jerry Smith, Michael Goode, Barry Lyon and Victor Emanuel. One of the many benefits of a birding event like the convention and some of the larger festivals is the opportunity to bird with guides who work for tour companies like Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, WINGS and Field Guides.

During the drive from the seawall to the next stop, Victor told us about one of his rare-bird sightings: Eskimo Curlew on the Texas Gulf Coast. I enjoyed hearing the tale of his April 7, 1959, observations. He watched the bird for two hours that day and told us "It's hard to believe it really happened." At one point, he had a spotting-scope view of a Whimbrel, a Long-billed Curlew and the Eskimo together.

Our field trip's second stop included a walk through woods that hid an elusive, vocal Ovenbird. Even though we didn't see the bird, we got to see beautiful scenery.

That stop also allowed us to watch three young Barred Owls sitting way up in the trees. I hope to offer a picture of them soon, with help from the ever-smiling Bill Schmoker.

At the Peregrine Falcone eyrie, we unfortunately didn't see or hear any raptors. (The other bus did, though -- darn them!) I did hear a Red-eyed Vireo there with help from Barry.

Our last stop involved a delightful walk near Schooner Head outlook. We heard Nashville Warbler a couple times and enjoyed the sounds and sights of Hermit Thrush and Ovenbird. At one point, the thrush chased a chipmunk -- perhaps away from a nest?

And that was the last of our ABA adventures for the week. The days had sped by, and despite my fatigue, I was bummed to see the end of the festivities. I can, however, look forward to next year's convention in late April in Lafayette, Louisiana. Perhaps you'll join us?

One last image from Maine:


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