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Birdathon 2014: Final Report for the Pepperbox Wilderness

On May 16, 2014, I participated in the Audubon Society’s Birdathon, a challenge to observe as many bird species within a single 24-hour period as possible. This was my eighth year participating in the event, all of which took place wholly or in part in the Adirondack Park. For the fourth time in five years,

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Birdathon 2014: Departing the Pepperbox Wilderness via the Bowtie Beaver Meadow

The day after the Birdathon is often a letdown. All the excitement of the chase for new bird species is over, leaving just the responsibility of reporting the results, and the necessary frantic exit from the backcountry that goes along with it. The only redeeming part is the dream of doing better next year. This

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Birdathon 2014: The Case of the Missing Tent Stake at Sunshine Pond

Where to end my Birdathon bushwhack in the Pepperbox Wilderness always becomes a difficult decision. There is always the constant incentive to push on, hoping that the next destination will provide the big breakthrough of a plethora of bird species, producing the banner year I continue dreaming about during the weeks leading up to the

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Birdathon 2014: Birding Up Deer Pond Outlet to Sunshine Pond

Birds tend to be less active in the late afternoon; that is just a fact. The singing dies down, with many birds taking their siesta after feeding during the earlier morning hours. This phenomenon makes Birdathon afternoons a time of profound desperation, where the frantic search for any new species to add to a scant

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Birdathon 2014: Unproductive Bushwhack to Deer Pond Outlet

After exhausting the beaver ponds along the Cropsey Pond outlet during the early morning hours, an unproductive bushwhack over a couple of ridges, separated by a series of wetlands, are all that lies between me and the more bird diverse Deer Pond drainage. The afternoon hours, when most self-respecting birds are taking their siesta, is

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Birdathon 2014: Climbing to View of Stillwater Reservoir

Heavy rain is not the ideal weather for the beginning of a bushwhacking trip.  Logs and fallen leaves become slippery, streams overflow their banks and mud becomes ubiquitous, especially during mid-spring in the Adirondacks. This is especially true during the Birdathon in the Pepperbox Wilderness.  Unfortunately, the predicted wet weather gave me little choice this

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Carpet Spruce Swamp: Frittering Away the Afternoon at Sitz Pond

It is a rare treat to get an entire afternoon off on a bushwhacking trip. Usually the days are long and the going too arduous to allow for a lazy day of relaxation and reflection. My trip through the remote western Five Ponds Wilderness is no exception, especially after a rain delay at Lower South

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Carpet Spruce Swamp: Arriving at Sitz Pond

The area just north of the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River in the Five Ponds Wilderness of the Adirondack Park gets very little loving. It is remote, with limited access (it has but a single trail to Upper South Pond), and few outstanding draws; small unnamed ponds are as common as trees. Yet, these

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Taking the New York State Guides License Exam

For many years, off and on (unfortunately more times on than not), software engineering has been my primary occupation, my employers including a small start-up company, a couple Fortune 500 companies and a federal government agency. While enduring these years, I continued to plan and plot some way to escape the drudgery of staring at

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Isle Royale Trip: Bushwhacking to Unnamed Lake from Minong Ridge

Typically, I spend most of my time in the backcountry off-trail. Trails are usually reserved for accessing an area to position me to bushwhack to some remote lake, wetland or other natural landmark. So, the whole time I am on Isle Royale, I am jonesing to leave the trail behind and get acquainted with the

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