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,
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
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
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
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
The big day has finally arrived; the 2014 Birdathon is finally here. Not a moment too soon either! The excitement is palatable, waking me numerous times during the early morning hours before the sun makes even a faint appearance. Each time I do my best barred owl impression, trying to tempt one to respond. Greeting
With at least half of the way to Cropsey Pond to go, my 2014 Birdathon adventure has been a wet one so far. Although missing the worst of it by sitting it out in my car, the rain returned as soon as I was far enough from my vehicle to rule out a hasty retreat.
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
This year’s Birdathon results from within the Pepperbox Wilderness of the Adirondack Park were less than stellar. With only 46 species, it was the second lowest count for the seven years in which I participated. A severe head cold, recent beaver dams, a black bear and lack of some common species contributed to the low turn-out.
The morning after any Birdathon is fraught with frustration and bitterness, as avian species not observed the previous day suddenly appear, gleefully rubbing my face in the fact they evaded detection. Despite this dread, I woke in early morning after the Birdathon 2013 enjoying the morning chorus near the southwestern corner of Sunshine Pond; luckily,