Friday, December 31, 2010

Whooping cranes etc

So we arrived in Rockport safe and sound but discovered no cell service at the campground. And since I primarily drove from our stop outside of Austin on down, I was unable to blog en route.

Today we celebrated New Years eve in the presence of Whooping Cranes... I got a great shot on my slr but then realized my camera settings were messed up so it was shot at 4.5 megapixels. Grrrrr!!!! Hopefully it will still be OK though...

Posted here is my phone-bin'ed shot from the boat. I got a handful of lifers including long-billed Curlew, American Avocet, Neotropic Cormorant, and Least Grebe.

Now we're off to get some food supplies and cook some soup for dinner. Then its off to bed before another full day. Tomorrow night we'll be at south padre island. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to update from somewhere along the way.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good morning from Troy, IL

Good morning from troy... Doesn't our free hot breakfast look delicious?

We're off to see Eurasian Tree-Sparrow. Still dark here so we'll be in position for the morning light.

Life bird numero uno here we come!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Weather and plate list

As birders we like lists... Here's a peak at our list of license plates thus far on the trip.

Also re my mothers question... It is 28 degrees here (4 degrees colder than it is in Rye, NH) but tomorrow temperatures will be around 50 before 70-80 in Texas on thursday. No snow falling but about 2 inches on the ground. Roads are clear and wind isn't too bad.

Tonight we will be staying in Troy IL. The plan is to wake up early to see Eurasian Tree-Sparrow before heading down to Tulsa for Sprague's Pipit, Prairie Chicken, and Smith's Longspur. Then we will pull our only drive through the night attempt and "wake up" in the Austin, TX area to look for Bushtits and Western-Scrub Jays.

After that its down to Goose Island SP and the TX coast!!!

For all you number keepers, here's a few tallies for you:

75 Red-tailed Hawks,
30+ state birds (depending on who),
10 American Kestrels,
7 States (NH, MA, CT, NY, PA, OH, IN)
5 cups of coffee,
4 Red-shouldered Hawks,
2 Coyote,
1 bag of Chocolate Chip Cookies,
0 Life Birds

Somewhere near Indianapolis

Ben's turn to drive

And we're still in Ohio....

Hello from PA

Good morning from Ben, Jason, and myself ....we're currently in Scranton tallying Crows, Starlings, and Gulls from the highway... So far our best bird was Common Redpoll (aprox 10) from the Pease park-and-ride in NH.

We look forward to getting many state birds, a few life states (for everyone but me) and perhaps a few life birds (for Jason at least).

Papa roach is the music of choice this morning. Quite the pump me up for the ride.

Surprise! There's road construction in PA... Sarcasm there in case you didn't catch it. Penndot has construction projects paving 10 mile stretches of road that literally have lasted 40 years... Most projects last 5-10 in my experience... Makes the hampton bridge paving and wooden bridge reconstruction in NH look like childs play.

Ok. Back to tallying the birds.


Monday, December 27, 2010

On the road

And as of 1:51 pm we are on rte 95 headed south!!!

We already have our first 2 quotes of the trip including "Just because there's snow doesn't mean there's no speed limit". See?! We're being safe... Goodbye new england blizzard!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Team Awesome Leaves for TX... soon!

Jason, Ben, and I (left to right) are scheduled to leave for TX tomorrow... weather depending... I'm going to attempt to blog from the road a bit while gone and will also be keeping twitter updated with our progress: feel free to keep track on either one and leave us comments as we go...

Tonight I'm finishing up packing... laundry is finished and there are some fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven as I type this (thanks to ben...)

We'll miss you all but will certainly be enjoying some good birds *we hope*.

Thats it for now... see y'all later.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wrapping My Year List Up

Since I'm headed to TX soon I figured I'd send a quick blurb out there summing up my 2010 year... it was pretty damn good: 296 species in NH... more than anyone other than me has summed in a year in the state... my list can be seen HERE. More on highlights...etc when I get back...

Monday, December 13, 2010

CBC season almost here

Tomorrow starts the CBC season... and in many ways the CBCs have really rekindled my Christmas spirit. As a kid Christmas was always an exciting time of the year ... but as I got older I lost much of the Holiday Cheer... and tried a variety of things to "experience" Christmas and the joy that is supposed to be associated with it.

Now I'm a bit of a Holiday fanatic enjoying all kinds of Chrismukkah celebrations but the one thing that really is the highlight of the season for me are the CBC's (or Christmas Bird Counts). Its an all out effort to count everything that you can see in one day; where every robin and starling matter. The compilation sessions are always fun and each count has it's own personality much like each house/family I visit for a Christmas dinner has it's own traditions and personality.

My first CBC isn't til Saturday, but as of Wednesday "count week" birds begin to matter for the Coastal CBC.... and before you know it I'll be up in the most northerly NH CBCs on Tuesday and Wednesday before trekking down to PA for some homemade pumpkin pie....well we might not have pumpkin pie but Christmas songs suggest that we should...

CBCs have made the holidays an even better time o the year... and I can't wait for my first bird of the count on Saturday morning... guaranteed it will be more exciting than opening socks on Christmas day.... (unless they are smartwool socks... in which case it depends on the bird).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's Been a While

So it's been a while since I wrote here but I'm going to attempt to pick it up again since I've found myself with greater need to procrastinate.

This semester was a lot more work than I had hoped for and a lot less free time than I desired. I found myself teaching 3 sections of Freshman Biology Lab... and oh the stories that exist now!

Currently, I find myself in-between lab sections trying to tie some loose ends up on a presentation that I'm giving on Wednesday at the Seacoast Chapter Meeting. Here's the blurb about it that was posted online:
This Wednesday, December 8th, Lauren Kras, UNH graduate student and current record holder for finding the most species of birds in NH in a calendar year, will describe her graduate research project which looks at the current status of 5 species of threatened, and endangered tidal plants--and also her 2009 Big Year.  All are welcome to attend the program which will be held at the Seacoast Science Center, Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Boulevard, Rye. Refreshments are at 7:00 pm. Meetings begin at 7:30 pm.  Hope to see you there!
Maybe some of you will make it... it should be interesting... I hope.

In other news, I recently became president of the Seacoast Chapter. I'm pretty optimistic about the changes/growth that can be made but its frustrating that I get this opportunity at the same time that I NEED to finish my M.S. Thesis... oh well.

I also, turned down an opportunity, which is a big step in fulfilling my need to "manage" my volunteer opportunities and not be over-extended for fear of returning to the over-burdened ways of junior and senior year of college. It's a tough balance but I'm working on it.

Finally, I've become obsessed with two things lately: (1) taking pictures, and (2) looking for banded gulls...

If you didn't already know, my pictures can be viewed at:

And there are even some of banded gulls like this guy right here:
Herring Gull - A07