RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Birding on the Run

So, meeting the minimum recommended daily allowance of birds (Bird RDA) of 20 species is pretty easy if you are actually birding. Where it becomes a challenge is when you are busy and don't have much time. Yesterday was one of those days that makes getting the Bird RDA really tough.

I checked in at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around 6am in the dark. As I sat in the terminal, it got light, and I was able to see my first four birds of the day while waiting to board my plane--Rock Pigeon, European Starling, House Sparrow, and Great-tailed Grackle. No surprises there.

In flight we were told we'd arrive early--which would give me time for a quick stop at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum just south of the Philly Airport on the way home. But in reality, despite 120 tail winds, we got into Philly late (no surprise there either, unfortunately). By the time I got my luggage and my car, it was after 3:30. I had to dash home to pick up kids from school and wouldn't have time to stop for birding. I did pick up Ring-billed Gull at the airport as I waited for my luggage. Five down, fifteen species more to go. Ouch!

Despite being in a hurry, I slowed down passing Tinicum just long enough to pick up a few more species--Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, American Coot, Common Merganser, Mallard, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and Great Blue Heron. Thank goodness for large birds that you can identify even at freeway speeds (the sparrows were seen on a quick pull over). Pulling off I-95 onto I-476 I only needed five more species to achieve my Bird RDA.

You would think that would be pretty doable driving 30 miles on the freeway and 10 miles through town. But after 10 miles and no new birds I was starting to sweat. Finally I got an expected Red-tailed Hawk on a powerpole. Then a couple more. But where were the crows? Finally a family group of four American Crows flew over the freeway. Followed shortly by a flyby Cooper's Hawk. Whew! Only two more species to go as the sun started to set.

As I pulled off the freeway I was feeling pretty confident that I could find two more species as I drove through town with my windows down. A flyover American Robin showed up near the Lansdale toll booths. One more to go. After five minutes of seeing absolutely no birds, I started worrying again. Where were the jays, cardinals, or House Finches? And what does a guy have to do to get a Mourning Dove in a pinch? Finally a Mourning Dove did show up on a wire, followed by a few more. That was it. I'd met my Bird RDA of 20 species. The resident pair of Mute Swans near my house after dusk made it 21 species for the day.

No comments:

Nature Blog Network Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites