As I’ve said often enough, our stays here in North Carolina are more about being close to family and away from the oppressive heat of South Texas than they are about birds.
Once again, we have found no new species for the life list in an entire summer here … or even nearby. Meanwhile, rarity after rarity has graced the skies in Alaska, California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Newfoundland, Quebec, etc., etc., etc. The rare birds have managed to be exactly where I am not this summer; often within just a few days or weeks of me having been there. Que sera, sera!
That does not mean that the summer has been wasted, birdwise. I did manage to finish over a dozen wood carvings of songbirds, shorebirds, and a Least Grebe. I put on an exhibition of 50 of our Big Year photos and we did a presentation on that adventure for the local bird club. I even managed to sell a few of the carvings and photos. That’s rare. (I’d starve if I tried to make a living as a bird carver or photographer!)
The most exciting news is that we are heading down to Trinidad and Tobago in December! We just finished all of the reservations and all that’s left is to scrape together the money to make the trip. We’ll fill you all in on the preparations and results of that trip as they develop, but for now, let me just say that we are doing a package tour by Coligo Ventures to the Asa Wright Nature Centre. We have booked 12 days of birding at a cost of about $210 per person per day, plus airfare. That’s not “cheap” but it is a relative bargain compared to the costs of many birding tours. Visions of tropical tanagers, hummingbirds, and manakins are dancing in my head!
Next week we make a brief visit to New Jersey for my father’s 90th birthday and we hope to do a little fall migration birding along the Jersey coast. Maybe we’ll get lucky with a vagrant while there.