July 19, 2009

Going to New Mexico

I was one of about 60 lucky boy scouts from across America to be chosen to participate in a leadership hike through the mountains of New Mexico. We will be hiking through the world's largest boyscout camp, called Philmont Scout Ranch, which is located near Cimarron in the state's NE quarter.

Along the way we will learn leadership skills and participate in a number of interesting activities. On average we will be hiking 7 miles a day with a 50 lb backpack on for about 10 days.

The scout ranch has lots of wilderness which means lots of birds. Being so far away from home means that there will be plenty of new birds for me. Even the common ones such as Steller's Jay and Mountain Chickadee will be life birds for me. I hope to have some photos of the birds there to show you all since I bought a small camera just for this trip. If I am luck we might stop at Rocky Mountain NP on the way back which has White-tailed Ptarmigan, Black Swift, and Brown-capped Rosy-Finch!

A couple days before and then after the actual hike itself we will be staying at a retreat house in Albuquerque that is right along the Rio Grande River which will hopefully have a couple more life birds.

Visit my blog around August 10th when I am back to hear how my trip went.

I better go since it's only about an hour before I leave for NM by motor home with my two best friends. Wish me luck!

July 14, 2009


The day after the Fourth of July my mom dad went up to Yankton, SD to spend a couple days by the lake there which was formed by a dam on the Missouri River. With their being so much habitat and a large lake I always look foreword to seeing birds while I am there. A few days before we left some Chuck-will's-widows were heard at a place called Gavin's Point (left). These birds would be new for me so I was even more excited to be going.
The first day was nice and warm and a few birds were around with the best being a lone Caspian Tern. We swam and fished and before long it was starting to get dark. My dad and I drove out to the point and listened for the birds at about 9:30pm. At first it was quiet except for the noise of boaters loading their gear. At about 9:40, after the boaters left, the birds began to call. One Chuck-wills-widow was calling along with a number of the more common Whip-poor-wills. The birds often called at the same time which made it hard to tell which voice was which. The Chuck-will's-widow was life bird 312 for me.
After a successful search we headed back to the campground. The next day we got up bright and early to go to Lake Andes NWR and Fort Randall Dam but we never did make it to the refuge because my dad had to go back because of a trouble call. On the way there we did see (and hear) an Upland Sandpiper and a Loggerhead Shrike before we had to turn around.

The weekend was not over then. The same day I went canoeing with my sister who came up too and did some more swimming. Unfortunately no other good birds were really around except for a Franklin's Gull.