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Showing posts from August, 2016

This is not a whale blog.

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I wish I saw enough whales that I required a whale blog.

Somehow, while back east visiting my family, I convinced everyone we should go whale-watching.  At lunch beforehand we tried to figure out when the last time the four of us had been on a boat together, and I think it was like 25 years ago in our Boston Whaler on Long Island Sound.  It was time to hit the water again.

Sandy Neck Lighthouse

My parents had been on a whale watch boat before with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises out of Barnstable Harbor, so that's the one we picked.  I was hoping for whales, but of course I was really hoping for birds.  Pelagic birds.  I had zero expectations until the morning of the whale watch when I looked at the website and realized the boat was heading to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a spot I recognized from eBird as being great for pelagic birds. 

We set sail with a hundred other people (or so it seemed) at 1:30 in the afternoon, cruising out of the harbor into Cape Cod Bay.  We…

Mount Rainier--Spray Park Trail.

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On my weekend (not yours) I returned to Mount Rainier with Audrey to try once again to prove that White-tailed Ptarmigan exist.  We had a new location to try, the Spray Park Trail, on the northwest side of the mountain, and so we drove up there Tuesday afternoon.  The only campground nearby is on Mowich Lake, right at the trail head, and knowing there were only so many spots we were eager to arrive and claim some space.
Fairfax Bridge, one of two permitted stops

On the main dirt road into the park we caught sight of a flock of birds.  A quick scan turned up a couple of Evening Grosbeaks among a bunch of waxwings.  We gave in and got out to see what else was happening and found Townsend's and Black-throated Gray Warblers, a random Great Blue Heron flying high overhead, and other things I cannot recall.  Cars were passing us and we started to worry they were going to take all of the camp spots so we abandoned the birds and powered ahead.  We passed about four cars along the way, all …