Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Tour Big 350: Wood Sandpiper and Audubon Greenwich

From Greenwich, Connecticut, Kenn writes:  It has been a long day and our eyes are barely open, but we wanted to at least mention a couple of highlights from today.

After last night's presentation to the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, we couldn't bear to leave the Ocean State without at least trying for the Wood Sandpiper that had been present at Marsh Meadows Preserve near Jamestown, RI, for the last several days.  This Old World shorebird has been found only a handful of times ever in the Lower 48 States.  So we set the alarm for 6 and drove down to meet our friend Drew Wheelan at Jamestown. 

Drew and Kimberly and I spent quite a while slogging around in the marsh on the west side of the road, in areas where the sandpiper had been seen on other days, and finally got the word that the bird had just been relocated on the east side of the road.  It took a soggy hike of half a mile to get to the right spot, but once we arrived, we had long, satisying looks at this elegant little wader. Kimberly even got some good digiscoped photos through Drew's telescope.  At least 40 other people were there looking at the Wood Sandpiper, and among the crowd we were delighted to run into our old friend Geoff LeBaron, who has been editor of all the Christmas Bird Counts for National Audubon Society since the late 1980s. 

Wood Sandpiper in Rhode Island on October 20, 2012. Digiscoped photo by Kimberly Kaufman.
The marsh area and bordering woods provided many other new species for our big 350 challenge: birds such as Saltmarsh Sparrow and American Black Duck, plants such as Marsh Elder and Winged Sumac, and even insects such as European Mantis. 

After a quick stop at the Point Judith Lighthouse, we left Rhode Island and headed west through Connecticut.  Our destination was the famous Audubon Center at Greenwich - one of the first Audubon Centers established, decades ago, and still a leader in nature education.  I had spoken there before, but this was Kimberly's first visit.  Arriving in late afternoon we hiked around, adding some more species to our list, then went to an evening reception and gave our program again.  It was another warm and wonderful audience, leaving us feeling inspired all over again.  We stayed up late after the program, talking with some of our young friends who work at the Center, and now I'm trying to write a quick blog post before I'm overtaken by sleep. 

We haven't added up our list with today's additions, but there were many new ones, from mammals such as Woodchuck to moths such as Lunate Zale.  Surely we are over 200 species by now.  We'll try to update sometime tomorrow!


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