Thursday, 21 September 2017

Birding Across The Pond - Part Two

Date: 1st September 2017 - 14th September 2017
Location: New York > Niagara Falls > Las Vegas > San Francisco > New York
Weather: Everything but Snow!

Observation: In the air again this time flying to Las Vegas looking forward to the hot, dry desert like conditions....... well that should have been the conditions if Hurricane Irma wasn’t in the USA and the normally dry Vegas was wet! Thunderstorms too, but the next morning we headed off on a organised trip to Red Rock, a great place with desert and um well red rocks but also a few brilliant birds! First off while they were looking around the museum, a colourful House Finch landed, lens in hand spotted a few more with their red chests looking great with now blue skies overhead. 

But my main target was outside the ‘Restrooms’ an amazing Anna’s Hummingbird, stunning tiny things and my first ever! 

Carried on with the tour and saw Red-Tailed Hawk who landed in close by tree, Geckos and even Black Swallowtail and Monarch Butterflies. 

Next morning, another trip to.. You gotta go there Grand Canyon plus Hoover Dam. Hoover was ok it did have lots of Turkey Vultures but the Grand Canyon was great not many birds another Anna’s Hummingbird, a Brown Headed Cowbird being the best, but a few new Butterflies for me. 

The next day, a tour around Vegas, a must taking in Fermount Street, a must managed a Great-Tailed Grackle from the bus, but that was all. 

Next day San Francisco. 

Got to the hotel in San Fran and caught the Cable Cars and down to Pier 39, famous for its California Sea Lions and Brown Pelicans, great looking birds. 

Also Heermanns Gull, Western Gulls and Brandts Cormorants. 

Western Gull

Heermanns Gull

Another boat trip planned to Alcatraz, if you go in September, fly spray a must, 1000s of them very annoying! 

Apparently attracted to dead a decaying Cormorants on the island, once I rushed around the the tour, I got outside to a Black Phoebe, Northern Mockingbird and more shy Hummingbirds. There was a massive colony of Brandts Cormorant also Snowy Egrets. 

Off the boat and along to Golden Gate Bridge, blue skies and stunning, White Crowned Sparrow and a Shiny-Shinned Hawk also a California Scrub Jay in car park. 

Next morning, we spent a few hours in Golden Gate Park, great place to visit. 

Picking up Pygmy Nuthatch, Black-Throated Grey Warbler, a few Hawks, Pied Billed Grebe, Western Tanager, Chestnut-Sided Chickadee, Stellers Jay, plus more. Also a Anna’s Hummingbird humming 5ft from our faces!! 

Back to the hotel and sleep. A spare 2 hours in the morning before our flight back to New York. We took the Cable Cars to Lombard Street, amazing to ride the expensive Cable Cars, hanging on from the outside of the cars felt like I was in the old TV show “The Streets of San Francisco”. Was looking for the Red Masked Parakeets, that have lived here since the 1960’s but also got a Western Kingbird a bonus! 

We caught the last internal flight back to New York, which was a long 6 hours. The girls went shopping and I went for some peace around Central Park, it’s massive, 3.5 miles long and easy to get lost in. The Hurricane was keeping a few birds away, the local birders were saying, but any birds were good for me and I managed to get a American Kestrel. 

We spent 2 weeks in the USA, a great place to visit but very busy, lots of traffic and people but some great spots. Ended my trip on 68 new birds and 9 new butterflies and around 2000 photos overall. Walking around with lens and camera felt safe and the birders and people I spoke to seemed nice and friendly. 

If anyone is thinking of going or needs any advice we, as usual, are happy to help. 

Hope you enjoyed the blog as much as I enjoyed doing the trip!

Thanks For Looking! 
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