As winter stretches into February, and spring starts to approach the southern states, many of us are suffering from cabin fever. For a little relief we can start planning our next great birding trip.
Ready to roll? Here our some of our favorite locations… on a month-by-month basis.
The Texas Rio Grande Valley is always a great place to visit. In the past couple of weeks hundreds of birders had headed to the Valley (far south Texas) to see the Bare-throated Tiger Heron and Amazon Kingfisher, both first U.S. records. Other early February reports included Hook-billed Kite, Roadside Hawk, Rose-throated Becard, Brown Jay and Crimson-collared Grosbeak!
The Texas Valley is home to the World Birding Center, which actually consists of multiple locations. In addition to the rarities, birders can feast their eyes on such species as Green Jays and Altamira Orioles.
Stay warm by heading to sunny southern California. A good way to see lots of birds with local experts is to attend the San Diego Birding Festival. The event runs from March 4 to 7. Over 250 different species were recorded at least year’s event. The birding, weather and scenery are all great this time of year. Bill Thompson, editor of Birdwatcher’s Digest, will be the keynote speaker.
Its time to head back to the Texas Coast for spring migration. The upper Texas coast is recovering nicely from the devastation of Hurricane Ike and the birding is sure to be great. Arrive between April 8 and 11 to participate in the Galveston FeatherFest. Field trips to such famous locations as west Galveston Island, Bolivar Flats and High Island will yield some great birds.
If you are flying into Houston and renting a car, check out the Texas City Dike on the way to Galveston.
OK, its time to head north and enjoy nesting species. A new birding festival this year is the modestly named “The Biggest Week in American Birding.’ Located in northwest Ohio, the event will feature field trips to Kelleys Island, Ohio and the world famous Point Pelee National Park, Ontario Canada. Evening highlights will include presentations by Kenn Kaufman.
This really BIG event runs from Thursday, May 6, 2010 through Sunday, May 16, 2010. If you make the trip, you’re sure to see loads of warblers as well as other migrant and nesting species.
Where the birds are
One of the best programs ever developed for birds and birders is the eBird program managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A new app, our favorite by far, is called BirdsEye. Birdseye connects the birder to the eBird data.
Here’s one of the many things it can do.
Pick a city in the United States, maybe one in southeast Arizona, as an example. Enter the city name into BirdsEye. BirdsEye connects to eBird and returns a list of all the species seen near the selected location that were reported to eBird within the past 30 days. The program will even map the location of each sighting and provide driving directions from your location to the location of a particular sighting. Its GREAAAT.
The program runs on both the iPhone and iTouch.
Ok, let’s go see some birds!