2022 Update

Man what a year, I have had the great privilege's of visiting three new States being Montana. Oklahoma and Texas. In addition I got to start the year in Hawaii with the first bird I woke up to being a Red Junglefowl, likely fully domestic but it is pretty complicated in Hawaii. One of my favorite bird memories from this year was a spectacular I'iwi on the Kipuka Pualu interpretive trail off the saddle road in Hawaii. Ehen it flew over me all I was feeling was joy and wonder, it then perched on a tall dead tree and started belting out a wonderful song. Pretty funny that one of my top bird moments from the year came on only January first. I didn't realize how easy Apapane was to find in Hawaii but it seemed like they were a near constant sight whenever I was in the good habitats. The Ivory Gull in Duluth showed up a couple days later and I knew I wouldn't make it back to Minnesota for another week, fortunately the day after I got back I was able to witness this awesome bird, it was quite the dramatic change in temperature and the whole time I was watching the Gull for all of less than five minutes in a direct flyover I was just sooo cold. Fast forward through the rest of the boring early Spring all the way to May, what a crazy May for weird rarities in MN, there is no way for me to describe how insane it was. The most notable birds in my opinion were Bullock's Oriole, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Ruff, Kentucky Warbler among other less rare but still cool other birds and organisms that I needed to see or just get on the yearlist. Fast forward to June, my Dad and I drove to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to check out what they had there and look for a few more organisms, mostly plants. It was a long drive but it yielded me with a new State by Montana and I got to explore an ecosystem that was new to me somewhat. This trip was really windy, like the wind was disturbingly ever present but we still made the most of it and saw many megafauna like Wild Horses, Bison and many various birds. Two weeks went passed and then we were prepping for a trip to Oklahoma to visit family and get a few lifer birds and other cool animals. Another tear jerking bird to see was the Black-capped Vireo of Wichita Mountains NWR, that was ultimately my bird highlight for the trip. Although we got more thrills by seeing many Eastern Collared Lizards basking at th holy city, I would feel bad not mentioning that we made another 45 minute detour to Texas to grab a new state and even more awesome wildlife. This trip proved to be a great trip to find Odes too, I was very impressed by the amount of new Odes I saw out there, even just in the vicinity of our hotel. Oklahoma proved to have more Great-tailed Grackles, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Mississippi Kites than I have ever seen the numbers of before. Just two weeks later this trip we embarked on another flight but this time to Florida. I found more Lifers on this trip than any one taken previously, it was so fun but also very overwhelming. It didn't take long for me to conquer random photo nemesis's that I had seen on my first trip to Florida as a little 11 year old like Anhinga and Trico Heron. Being based out of Disneyworld has benefits and drawbacks, the benefit is that you can relax and see birds randomly when you can also spend time with family, the drawbacks are the crowds and people watching you every single second, you can't steal alone time there. It saves on transportation though because you can hop on Disney busses and skyliners to go wherever you want within this confined area. On Wednesday the 20th we got a rental car and drove an hour to the Space Coast of FL. This was one hectic day of lifers and experiences completely new to me too. I got to see a crazy bird known as the Bahama Mockingbird which should be over a hundred miles East on secluded Islands. I can't believe this little bird flew over that much open sea to sit on a lightpost in a boat parking lot belting out song around a group of Northern's. This was my very first time at the Atlantic Ocean proper so I did what any tourist would do, I took my shirt off and put a swimsuit to go play in the waves. I got my lifer Sandwich Tern in a flock of Royal's out on the sand, while three Magnificent Frigatebirds flew loops over my head. A look down turned up a Ghost Crab running sideways and S-banded Tiger Beetles all over. I then left to hit a few more locations where I got my lifer Black Skimmer in the form of a pair sitting on the roof of a warehouse likely on a nest, It was definitely a different experience getting this lifer than most people who find em on beaches. I would like to mention that I dipped on Scrub Jays at the sanctuary where they are supposed to be super tame at only to get one distant one later at the Scrub ridge trail at Merritt Island NWR. My coastal endeavors also yielded me an Atlantic Stingray, Bottlenose Dolphins and Needlefish which were all over. We later visited Merritt Island during the heat of the day because at that point we dreamed of nothing but car birding in that heat. No Gators here, big sad, we managed to locate manty herons including my lifer Reddish Egret, when we decided to take on the Scrub ridge trail we got a brief glimpse of a Gopher Tortoise right before the Jay. How could I not mention the awesome Brown-headed Nuthatch and Swallow-tailed Kite encounter on this day, I saw many other birds, some lifers and some not but these were the big highlights. A mere couple days later I ubered to Lake Apopka, got three lifers including GHSW. FUWD and SNKI and I got to meet some Florida birders to become friends with. My very first impression with Newton Park was OMG there is literally Purple Gallinules right below me and American Alligators too which would turn out to be my new favorite Reptile. The Gators were so cool looking but I had to keep a safe distance from them due to their bite force and unpredictability. The Gators on the wildlife drive were massive and one of the big Mother ones gave us a big fright by hissing and then approaching us. All the rest were in the water just coasting through the lake sand canals adjacent. I was overwhelmed once again by the many wading birds and Gators that I could see at Apopka and I look forward to returning there someday. Soon we flew home, got Covid, had to hide away but not to worry because I will get back in the Minnesota nature scene soon, I just self found the first of year Buff-breasted Sandpipers in Dakota and I got another lifer plant by Yankee Blackberry, cheers to that!

Publicado por matthewt6416 matthewt6416, 06 de agosto de 2022

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