Friday, February 18, 2011

2010 -- Part I

I have been meaning to do this for a few weeks now, but I have been too busy. Now, with a break for Presidents' Day Weekend, I can finally compile a list of my favorite moments from 2010:

In February, a large snowstorm hit the region. In Kunkletown, we received around 18 inches of snow. Although fun, the large amount of snow made it difficult to get around. Revi, my dog, had no idea what to do with so much snow!

On February 17, country-singer Kathy Mattea visited Moravian College for a presentation about the impacts of coal mining on people, the environment, and music. Her presentation included songs from her album Coal. It was an incredibly powerful and inspiring presentation.

In March, I traveled to Costa Rica. The adventure began with a stop at middle elevations, where the group found this lovely Bay-headed Tanager. Although pouring rain, the birds were still around. In 2009 I visited Costa Rica and it was raining at this same spot. Unfortunately on that trip, the rain lasted for the entire week. In 2010, the returning trip members could only wish for drier weather than the year before.

From there, we went to El Zota, a biological station along the Caribbean coast. As always, this area was full of great birds as well as mud! Despite the mud, we received NO rain while in the lowlands, which was a lovely surprise.

After the lowlands, we headed to the mountains in search of the Resplendent Quetzal like the one above. We saw several which was a real treat. The birds were wonderful; the road to the birds was not.

As well as seeing quetzals, we saw numerous brilliantly-colored hummingbirds including this stunning Fiery-throated Hummingbird.

In May, many birds began returning to the yard including this Blue-winged Warbler that could be heard every morning from the house. Not long after the arrival of this bright warbler, other species began arriving including Prairie Warblers and the my first ever Mourning Warbler for the yard. The Mourning Warbler proved difficult to see, but sang all morning long and was the first thing I heard when I woke up for school.

During the second week of May, I began scouting for the World Series of Birding in New Jersey. I focused my scouting on southern New Jersey including places such as Heislerville WMA, Jake's Landing, Cape May, and Edwin B. Forsythe NWR (Brigantine). I was on the Subadult Skuaz with Luke Seitz and Ian Davies.

Brigantine was full of great birds including this White-faced Ibis. Other great birds were seen at Brig including Gull-billed Tern, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Black Skimmer. A Bar-tailed Godwit was seen at the Refuge, but apparently left before I was able to get there for scouting.

Finding Piping Plovers, like this one, is always a treat while birding Cape May County. I also found Northern Bobwhite, Dickcissel, and Common Eider in this bird-filled county while scouting.

With 188 species, the Subadult Skuaz were able to win the youth division! (We also were able to do some advertising for eBird thanks to Marshall Iliff.) We found many great birds with highlights of Golden-winged Warbler and Harlequin Duck, but missed common species like Northern Flicker, our most embarrassing miss. Overall, we had a great, fun day that we ended surrounded by a cacophony of Clapper Rails.

In June, I started and compiled the Monroe-Carbon Butterfly Count, which was part of the North American Butterfly Association butterfly counts. I surveyed the area around my yard and found, among many other species, this beautiful Striped Hairstreak on blooming Wild Hydrangea. The count was a success with several teams across the region including one at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.

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