Friday 7 January 2011

777 to the USA

An obscure Knopfler lyric of the type I adore referencing, tomorrow I will be doing America. There is a family gathering in Ohio that I need to go to. By the shores of Lake Erie, I expect to be experiencing proper cold by this time tomorrow. There is apparently snow on the ground, and the current temperature is around minus 9c, although I will need to adjust to Fahrenheit to fit in. Whatever scale you use though, that's still bloody cold.

So my Wanstead list is going to stall momentarily, though on the plus side I will be hoovering up American Robins. I can't remember ever birding in winter in the northern States, so I have no idea what to expect. Although I've been to America countless times to visit family, and even lived over there for six months when I was a kid, my ABA list is only 124 species. I was either not interested in birds, or just didn't get any time in the field. I suspect that the latter will apply this time as well. If I've gone that far to see family, that's what I'm going to do, and birding comes a distant second. I may take some time out for some of these though:

Red pointy-headed Bird

Needless to say I'm taking my bins just in case- these days I take them almost everywhere, including Tescos. Also Sibley and my camera are packed. I remember the last time I was there I arrived in the dark, and at breakfast the next morning almost having a heart attack as a White-Crowned Sparrow flew down in front of the bay window. It had only been a few months since I had been knocked off my feet at Cley by a surge of desperate birders. Everything is relative, and twitching is a fool's errand.

I love birding abroad, and not being able to do much of it is one of the great disadvantages of not having a job. Hope to rectify that this year. We'll see. In the meantime, enjoy your birding wherever you are, and look out for stateside updates.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome, and have a good time! I'm not sure about Ohio, but here in New England the good winter finds include crossbills, siskins, and if you are more intrepid, northern hawk owls, snowy owls, quite rarely gyrs, and assorted gulls and ducks found only by freezing one's buns off on some icy beach. But if cardinals and American robins make you happy, you're in for a treat. You never know; in our suburbs the other day I heard a raven call as it flew over.