Showing posts from October, 2012

350 Species...and so much more

What We Did On Our Book Tour Today  by kimberly kaufman  We began our day in Portland, Maine, where we did a radio show by phone with Jack Holcomb from Jack's Backyard on WEEU in Reading, PA. We then headed northwest towards North Conway, New Hampshire, where we led a nature walk at 3:00 PM sponsored by Tin Mountain Conservation Center.   Following the walk, we gave a program and book signing at White Birch Books .  ---And it was AWESOME!   The radio show was great, the walk at Whittaker Woods was incredible, and the program tonight at White Birch Books was really fun. It was such a pleasure to meet Laura Lucy, owner of this lovely store.  Our walk today was a real highlight of the trip for us, for a number of reasons.   When we arrived for our walk, we were at 339 species, having picked up British Soldier Lichen and an Ichneumon Wasp at an information center just south of North Conway.  We hadn't set any high hopes for finding lots of things on the walk

Book Tour Big 350: Hurricane warnings

From Portland, Maine, Kenn writes:    So here we are in Maine, and suddenly Moose are cavorting everywhere. Or, at least, representations of them are everywhere. This guy greeted us at the first service area on the Maine turnpike. In case you can't tell from this small photo, Kimberly is signalling two thumbs up, not some other kind of gesture that might be inspired by an elusive moose. Aside from the silent moose, everyone we meet right now is talking about the approaching late-season hurricane, Sandy, and its possible effects on the region.  Of course we're keeping an eye on that as well.  But the theme yesterday (Friday the 26th) was of surprisingly mild weather.  The temperature reached the low 60s again, and even a few insects were active, adding to our trip tally. We had been surprised, a week ago, to see a few Monarchs on Cape Cod and in Rhode Island. Yesterday, later and farther north, we were even more surprised to see a few Monarchs winging their way south on t

Book Tour Big 350: lichens, butterflies, and mussels

From Portland, Maine, Kimberly Writes:  We've been blogging every night during our book tour through New England, updating readers on how we're doing with our 350 Species Challenge.  But after a very long, wonderful and emotional day on Thursday, we were just too darn tired, so we promised ourselves that we'd catch up soon. Highlights from Thursday, October 25th.   We started our day in Concord, New Hampshire and headed off for Exeter, New Hampshire.  We made a slight detour so we could spend some time on the coast, both to add species to our list and because we both love the ocean and the beach.   We stopped for lunch at a great little place and splurged by ordering big bowls of Clam Chowder!  It was a little chilly on the beach, so we were both happy to have something warm and wonderful like delicious local Chowder.  J ust outside the restaurant was a small butterfly garden that still had some blooming flowers.  They were looking a little

Book Tour Big 350: 300 in the rearview

From Concord, New Hampshire, Kim Writes: Well, we made it to New Hampshire where we gave a presentation and did a book signing tonight at Gibson's Bookstore .  Established in 1898, Gibson's is the oldest bookstore in New Hampshire, and might even be the oldest in all of New England. It was a wonderful night, and the nicest people came to our talk and stayed well after chatting about the book and nature in general. It's encouraging to see so many independent bookstores, like Gibson's!, that appear to be thriving and considered important parts of the community.  Before leaving South Hadley this morning to head north, we took advantage of some precious free time to get outside and explore with friends who live in the area. Jamie Bishop and her son Galen joined us, along with Josh Rose, and we spent a wonderful couple of hours at one of their favorite spots in the area.  It's one of those birding spots with a really distinctive name that you don't forget.  The

Book Tour 350: Now it gets tough

From a cozy B and B in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Kimberly Writes:  It was with a bit of reluctance that we left our lovely room at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan, Connecticut, and headed for South Hadley.  We had such a fabulous time during our two night stay in New Canaan and we both wished we could stay a little longer.  We gave a presentation at the New Canaan Public Library yesterday and it was just wonderful.  A great turn-out, a diverse audience, and the local book store sold out every copy of the New England field guide they had and took several orders!  Almost directly across from the Inn was a wonderful nature preserve and we walked some of the trails there a few times during our stay. We found several new things to add to our 350 species list, but even if we hadn't, the wooded trails were incredibly beautiful and we really enjoyed our time there.  The species list keeps growing, but now that we've sort of knocked off the "low hanging fruit"

Book Tour Big 350: shoe moth and other novelties

From New Canaan, Connecticut, Kenn writes:   Last night we reported that our big book tour list had soared to 260 species.  Today our pace slowed way down, but we added a few things. Today we were dealing with people, mostly, not nature.  Kimberly and I both had to attend to correspondence related to a big conservation effort back in Ohio; we gave an afternoon program to a wonderful audience at the New Canaan Public Library; then we got together with our great friend Fred Baumgarten, with whom I had worked at National Audubon Society back in the late 1980s.  But when we got back to the hotel room, well after dark, we got a new species for the trip literally IN our room. Velvetbean Caterpillar Moth: a southern species that wanders northward in fall, but hardly something that we'd expected to find in Connecticut. We mentioned on the blog a couple of days ago that we had slogged through a marsh in Rhode Island to see a rare Wood Sandpiper.  Our shoes had gotten pretty skanky du

Book Tour Big 350: We break 250!

From New Canaan, Connecticut, Kenn writes: If you've been following our story so far, you know that we're several days into the book tour for the Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England, officially published last Tuesday.  We are speaking and signing books every day for 15 days, traveling through all 6 New England states.  To make the trip more fun and more interesting, our friends at the publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) suggested that we should take on a challenge: identify at least 350 species of living things in the wild in New England before the tour ends.  Kimberly and I always like a challenge, so we've been working on this as time permits, dashing out to areas of good habitat to look for more plants and animals for the list.   Fall colors seem to be near their peak in southern Connecticut right now. The maples are ablaze with red, with the oaks adding darker reds and browns and the birches adding yellow to the mix. Traveling around New England at th

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

350 Species - Challenge Accepted!

From Providence, Rhode Island, Kimberly Writes:   We began our day with a visit to the Cape Cod National Seashore.  In order to try and add some species to our list for the Book Tour Big 350 Species Challenge, we first hit one of the wooded walking trails and had great success, adding many plants, trees, and even some insects.   From the woods we headed for the beach.  Both of us love the ocean, and with the winds really whipping out of the East/Southeast, we both hoped to catch a glimpse of a few seabirds.  We weren't disappointed.   There were squadrons of Northern Gannets everywhere, numbering in at least the hundreds.  There was never a point during our watch that we couldn't see multiple Gannets in the air. Interesting to both of us was the fact that they were nearly all adults. Northern Gannets against a rolling surf In addition to the gannets, we also had huge rafts of Common Eiders, three Scoter species (Black, Surf, and White-winged),  and we even had nice looks

Book Tour Big 350: Sightings in the City

From Boston, Mass., Kenn writes:   So far we've had very little time to walk around outside; so after 2 days, the species list from our book tour is still under 100.  But we've had some good sightings even in urban Boston.  Red Admirals had a very good flight in 2012 - here's a photo of one from Ohio from last April. On October 17th, we saw a lingering individual in downtown Boston. With our book tour happening so late in the season, we figured we wouldn't be seeing many butterflies or other insects, but Kimberly spotted a Red Admiral flying right past the car as we crossed a bridge on our way into downtown Boston. With temperatures predicted to reach the mid 60s on Thursday, we might see a few other butterflies down on Cape Cod. This morning (Wednesday the 17th) we got to visit with classes at Pierce Middle School in Milton.  Science teacher Jeff Stoodt invited us to come speak to an assembly of 6th and 7th grade classes, and later in the morning we went out o

Book Tour Big 350

From Cambridge, Mass., Kenn writes:   Our book tour for KFG to Nature of New England will take us through all 6 New England states, October 16-30, with public programs, book signings, media interviews, store visits, etc., so we're going to be somewhat busy for the next two weeks.  Our friends Taryn, Lisa, and Katrina at the publishing company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, decided that we weren't going to be quite busy enough, so they suggested a challenge: "Why don't you try to identify 350 species of living things while you're traveling through New England?"  As evidence of how crazy we are, Kim and I immediately said Yes to the idea.  Why not, indeed?  New England is loaded with natural wonders; and even in late October, past the main season for butterflies and flowers, after many birds have flown south, we are still going to see a lot of nature over the course of 15 days.  So that's our listing challenge: the Book Tour Big 350! We arrived in Boston l

Book Tour Schedule!

From on the way out the door in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:   We're heading to Boston to start our trip to introduce the brand-new Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England!   The official publication date is Tuesday, Oct. 16, and we will kick things off at the New England Wild Flower Society and Massachusetts Audubon Society before going on to events in all six New England states.  We are looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting lots of new friends as we travel through one of our favorite regions in the world! Here's a preliminary schedule; we will try to update this with more information as we get more details.  We are immensely grateful to Taryn Roeder and her staff at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for making arrangements for this whole tour. Here's our new "baby" - its official "birthday" is October 16th! October 16 at Framingham, Massachusetts : 12:30 p.m. program and book signing at New England Wild Flower Society. More inform

Help Protect a Globally Important Bird Area from Improperly Placed Wind Turbines

CITIZEN CALL TO ACTION:  Help BSBO's efforts to stop a wind turbine proposed for a Globally Important Bird Area in Ottawa County We hope you will email your Name, City, State, Zip, and email address (with "RWE" in the subject line) to: to support our efforts on the troubling issue outlined below. Your name will then be included along with an official letter that BSBO, along with other conservation organizations, will be submitting to local, state, and federal officials. Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) has learned of proposal to place a large wind turbine at the Camp Perry National Guard facility on the Lake Erie shoreline, just a few miles east of the world-famous birding hotspot of Magee Marsh.   The Camp Perry facility itself includes wooded areas near the Lakeshore that provide important stopover habitat for migratory songbirds. The site also lies directly between the Darby Unit of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Navarr

Black Swamp Bird Observatory Needs Your Help!

CITIZEN CALL TO ACTION: Help BSBO's efforts to stop a wind turbine proposed for a Globally Important Bird Area  We hope you will email your Name, City, State, Zip, to: to support our efforts on the troubling issue outlined below. Your name will then be included along with an official letter that BSBO, along with many other conservation organizations, will be submitting to local, state, and federal officials.  Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) has learned of proposal to place a huge wind turbine at the Camp Perry National Guard facility on the Lake Erie shoreline, just a few miles east of the world-famous birding hotspot of Magee Marsh.   The Camp Perry facility itself includes wooded areas near the Lakeshore that provide important stopover habitat for migratory songbirds.  The site also lies directly between the Darby Unit of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Navarre Marsh, site of BSBO's primary songbird banding research station