Major Peregrinations

Summary of Travis's recent travel

Summary of Travis’s recent travel

This little binocular really gets around, and the lines on the map above summarize the last three major moves and the next expected trip. Peregrinations is definitely an appropriate word since this most recent bout of travel began in the Florida Keys in the hands of the crew from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch. FKH is deservedly known as the “Peregrine Falcon Capital of the World”. Last year they set a new single day high count (worldwide) for this species at 651 birds & set a new world record, high season count  of 3,836 Peregrine Falcons tallied over their 2 month fall count period.

Peregrine Falcon totals tallied at Florida Keys Hawkwatch

Peregrine Falcon totals tallied at Florida Keys Hawkwatch

As we approach the end of this 2013 season they have re-broken their own record and are threatening to count >4,000 Peregrines by season’s end! The 2013 total above was as of October 26, 2013 & the count stood at 3,956 Peregrines tallied and counting (graph courtesy of Florida Keys Hawkwatch).

an adult Peregrine Falcon streams toward the FKH watch on Sept 27, '13 one of 429 tallied this day!

an adult Peregrine Falcon streams toward the FKH watch on Sept 27, ’13 one of 429 tallied this day!

Travis was lucky to be on the FKH platform during their best Peregrine day of the 2013 season, September 27, 2013 where 429 Peregrine Falcons migrated past the watch. Congratulations to the FKH crew as they approach the end of another fantastically successful season, and thanks for adding 11 new species to Travis’ list as well.

Florida Keys Hawkwatchers hard at work.

Florida Keys Hawkwatchers hard at work.

In a dramatic move Travis went from the most southerly point in the  United States – the Florida Keys to the Northern Most City in the US, Barrow Alaska! It would be near impossible to travel any further and remain in the boundaries of this enormous country. Why Barrow in October?… To join our friend John Puschock of Zugunruhe Birding Tours of course. The Zbird team was guiding a Ross’ Gull Expedition to Barrow in co-operation with the American Birding Association and John proudly carried Travis along the way (for the record that is not Travis in John’s hands below). ;p – image courtesy Zugunruhe Birding Tours.

John Puschock owner Zugunruhe Birding Tours zbirdtours.com

John Puschock owner Zugunruhe Birding Tours zbirdtours.com

John will be sharing tales from Barrow on this site, so look for more from the Great White North soon. In total, 6 new bird species were added in Barrow, Alaska, but more importantly was the amazing wilderness spectacle observed here – descriptions & images coming soon so stay tuned!

Staff and guides at the ABA Rally San Diego, October 2013

Staff and guides at the ABA Rally San Diego, October 2013 – courtesy American Birding Association

From Barrow, Travis travelled to the most Southwestern City in the US, solidly insuring all corners of the country were covered. The rally ran from 12-16 October with full day excursions through some of the best birding sites in the area. From lowland scrub along the Tijuana River Valley, to the highest points of the Cuyamaca Mountains, and everywhere in between, Travis tracked down some great birds, including world class spectacles off shore on a pelagic trip. John Puschock and Leica’s Jeff Bouton were both guiding here, but Travis was carried by our friend, ABA young birder, Ben Thesing from Georgia. Ben hosted Travis at Camp Colorado and will be contributing to the blog again to provide details from San Diego soon as well. An impressive 21 species were added in San Diego so lots to share from here.

Sunset birding at the ABA Rally San Diego

Sunset birding at the ABA Rally San Diego

From California, Travis sped back across the country to revisit that most infamous of migratory hotspots, Cape May, NJ. Since this was Cape May’s coveted Autumn Weekend, Travis got to kick around with many birding VIP’s and see huge numbers of birds, but given the strong Eastern bias to Travis’ list only a single new species was added here.

Counting Hawks in the Shadow of the Cape May Lighthouse

Counting Hawks in the Shadow of the Cape May Lighthouse

The next trip for Travis is a big one that we are really looking forward to. On November 4th Travis will make his first trip to the rich Rio Grande Valley n Texas. First stop will be at the Focus on Diversity conference in McAllen and then at the Rio Grande Valley Bird Fest in Harlingen. If you’re in the area drop in and say hello. We’d love to see you!