Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Bird Chase

In the late morning we always carefully work through the far bone yard in a group.  This morning while walking through in a line, trying not to fall into one of the many holes dug by the natives looking for ivory or artifacts, I flushed a bird ahead of me.  Although I saw it fairly well, it didn't ring any bells as to what it was.  Paul Lehman was the only other person who glimpsed the bird.  We revisited the bone yard three more times today trying to see the bird again with no luck.  Such is Gambell!  One of the strong suggestions for the bird was Middendorf's Grasshopper-Warbler, but we'll probably never know.  Rain is forcast for tomorrow and we may never see the bird again, but we will look.  Today we did record our first Spectacled Eider of the trip.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gambell Monday

We did have some new birds show up at Gambell today, but they were White-crowned Sparrow and Grey-cheeked Thrush.  The Grey-cheek breeds in Russia and crosses to Gambell in the fall, so it's not as bland is it may sound.  We had a little excitement today that caused us to rush back from the south end, but to no avail.  The mystery bird flew the coop and wasn't around by the time the major group of us arrived where it had been.  A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and a Slaty-backed Gull were seen, but I didn't see anything new for the year.  Let's hope for a different outcome tomorrow when the wind shifts around to the southwest.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Red-throated Pipit

My computer is not cooperating currently.  But apparently I can access the blog on the lodge's computer.  So I'm shifting to doing that which means that in addition to not having pictures, the posts will be brief since it's a public computer.  Today our full WINGS group flushed a pipit from the far bone yard which after several flushings and chasings was confirmed as a Red-throated Pipit which was a new year bird #697.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Full Day at Gambell

     There is wifi in our guest house and I should be able to post blogs.  However, it is very slow, so I've elected to omit the photographs for the moment.  Let's hope it goes well.
     All days at Gambell start with a sea watch and today was no exception even though it was drizzling which it kept doing most of the day.  We did have a French toast breakfast before heading out on our ATVs.  This was my first time driving one and I think I did pretty well negotiating over the pea gravel for which Gambell is notoriously famous.  We did see some Ancient Murrelets quite close to shore.  But further out were a few Short-tailed Shearwaters, a new bird for the year.  Later in the day we would see a more vigorous movement.  The numerical champion movers offshore were the Crested Auklets which probably numbered over a million birds in motion.  I counted passage of 120,000 per hour.  We also searched the boneyards with no success as well as a couple of sorties to the south end of Troutman Lake.  We spent a fair amount of time trying to turn a couple of Arctic Warblers into something exceptional, but Paul Lehman put a stop to that.  We looked through several flocks of gulls which were mostly Glaucous Gulls and finally found a couple of Slaty-backed Gulls, which were year birds.  There were Northern Wheatears everywhere and several White Wagtails.  Large numbers of Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs were flying up from near the roads.  The rain stopped and the sun shown in the evening, so after dinner John and I went out to do a brief sea watch, stopping first at the sewage lagoon.  There were a few shorebirds there including Pectoral Sandpipers, a Long-billed Dowitcher, and a couple of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, a new birds for the year.  The three new birds brings the total to 696 for the year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Out to Gambell and Out of Contact

John and I are in Nome today where we flew early this morning from Anchorage.  We're waiting for our Bering Air flight to Gambell where we will be for about two weeks.  Unless things have changed since June, there won't be an opportunity to post any new blogs until I get back to Nome on September 10.  However, I will continue to write them and save them until I can post them.  So you'll just have to wait until then

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Out on Resurrection Bay and Beyond

Since our boat didn't leave until 9:00am, we had time to walk around the area near our motel to see if we could encounter a White-winged Crossbill.  We didn't, but we did enjoy a decent sit-down hot breakfast.  There were about 70 passengers on the boat, but the capacity was a lot higher, so we had plenty of room.  Once underway the skipper asked if anyone had any special birds they were looking for and I told him about the two murrelets.  He said he'd try to make it work for us.  We did see Doll's Porpoises, Humpback Whales, Orcas, Steller's Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and lots of glaciers (web photo).  The captain, named Bob, kept us informed about what we were seeing and a lot of natural history to go with it.  He had a good approach to seeing but not harassing the wildlife.  When we got into Northwestern Fjord we did see an Ancient Murrelet and later I got a Kittlitz's Murrelet, separating it from the similar Marbled Murrelets which we also saw.  All day long Horned and Tufted Puffins were in view as well as Common Murres and a few Rhinoceros Auklets.  When we got back to shore we both felt it had been a good trip.  We didn't encounter much traffic on our way back to Anchorage.  We dropped our stuff off at the Puffin Inn and John took the rental car back to the airport and the motel shuttle back.  We repacked our stuff for the flight tomorrow.  The two new birds raised the year's list to 693.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back in the USA

We returned the rental car and flew from Victoria to Vancouver where we went through customs and immigration (a little piece of the US in Canada)and caught our flight to Anchorage.  In Anchorage we picked up the rental car, hooked up the gps, and headed out of the city toward Seward.  Once we got there, we checked on tomorrow's boat trip, found we were on the list of those going, so we checked into our motel and went out to dinner at a waterfront restaurant.  I had halibut cheeks in a pasta that was very good.  Halibut is the king of fish here in Alaska (web photo).  I'm not sure they catch all that many big lunkers anymore, but those that are caught are still pretty good sized.  We saw a few birds we don't see in Virginia like Northwestern Crow and many Glaucous-winged Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes flying around the harbor.  Tomorrow the boat trip.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vancouver Island

Barbara Begg had fixed us up with a young local birder, Jeremy Gatten.  The object of our searches today would be Sooty Grouse, a bird we've heard this year but not seen.  Since it would be a lifer for John, we hoped to see it to add it to his life list.  We met Jeremy early this morning in the Victoria Butterfly Gardens parking lot.  From there we went to Koksilah River Provincial Park where we drove logging roads looking for Sooty Grouse and avoiding logging trucks (web photo).  Mercifully, there were no encounters with those big rigs.  When the logging roads were closed, we walked them.  We did see some nice birds but no grouse.  Next we tried hiking up Mt. Wells where a grouse had been heard earlier this year.  It was a nice hike, but no grouse.  We had lunch at Mom's Cafe in Sooke, a folksy nook indeed.  Then we drove west to some logging tracks Jeremy knew.  Lots of Steller's Jays, American Robins, Varied Thrushes, and Red-shafted Flickers, but no grouse.  After many kms of these sometimes rough roads, we headed back to town where we dropped Jeremy off at his place and we returned to the motel.  Tomorrow we fly to Alaska.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sky Lark

It sure was early this morning when I got up and Joyce drove me to the airport.  Once there I was reminded by the agent at the counter that my flight was an international flight which required that I have a passport.  And of course my passport was home in the dresser drawer.  So I called Joyce on her cellphone and told here where I thought it was.  It was there, and she brought it back to me at the airport in time for me to get checked in and catch my flight.  From that point onward, everything worked out well.  I got a couple of hours of sleep going to Chicago.  I got an aisle seat going to Vancouver.  Canadian customs and immigration was very mild.  My very short (14 minute) flight to Victoria was on time.  And most importantly Barbara Beggs, the Vancouver Island's caretaker of their Sky Larks, was waiting for me when I emerged.  We went to a nearby area where Sky Larks occur and walked slowly through the field, flushing three birds which we heard and saw well (web photo).  We did a little more birding and then she took me to the motel where I checked in and left my luggage.  Later she dropped me off back at the airport and I picked up the rental car and returned to the motel to work on the blog and listen to the Cardinals game (they won!).  John's first flight of the day was delayed, upsetting his remaining connections.  The outcome was that he wouldn't arrive in Victoria until after 6pm.  When he did arrive, I drove to the airport and picked him up, and we went straight to the field where I had the Sky Larks earlier.  After two circuits of the area and no Sky Larks, I was getting a little apprehensive, but decided to take one more loop.  That worked!  We found six in a cluster and got great looks at several.  We celebrated with a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant that Barbara had recommended.  We also set up a rendezvous with a young birder to help us see a Sooty Grouse tomorrow.  The Sky Lark was bird #691.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oregon Inlet Pelagics I and II

On Thursday afternoon my wife Joyce and I headed south to the Outer Banks of NC to position me for the three days of offshore birding primarily to search for the White-faced Storm-Petrel.  Our good friends Audrey and Bobby lent us the use of their house while they were in Virginia for some fishing.  Brian Patteson's boat, the Stormy Petrel II, was to be moored at Wanchese for this set of trips.  When we got to the south end of the Outer Banks, we drove over to check out the location of the repositioned boat.  I found Brian on his boat; he had just arrived from Hatteras.  Having accomplished the mission of finding the boat, we turned our attention to getting some dinner.  We decided to pick up some steamed shrimp, salad fixings, and eat at Audrey's.  It turned out to be a great choice.
     The next morning I was up early for the drive to Wanchese, stopping at the 7-11 for a breakfast muffin, coffee, and a sandwich for lunch.  We left the dock at 6:00am and headed northeast out of Oregon Inlet.  It was a two hour run to get to the area where the storm-petrels might be found.  We did find some flocks of Wilson's Storm-Petrels and the occasional Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and some Cory's and Great Shearwaters (photo) on the water.  We had good looks at a Minke Whale.  But during the whole day we never got a glimmer of the target species, although Brian did his very best to make it happen.  We did catch and release a spearfish and hoisted the billfish flag to trumpet that fact.  Plus we hooked another, but lost it.  Back on shore Chris Hitt, he of the lower 48 big year who was also on the boat, suggested eating at Basnights on the causeway.  It sounded like a great idea, so I picked up Joyce and met Chris there.  We had a marvelous meal.
      The next day was very similar to the first day with not a sniff of the white-faced guy.  We did catch a big Mahi-mahi which splattered me with blood since I was holding the ice chest open while the gaffed fish was brought onboard.
      On Sunday I decided that it would squeeze the schedule too much if in fact I did the third pelagic trip.  So I slept in, had some breakfast, and rode back to Norfolk with Joyce driving while I worked on the to-do list to get ready to go to Alaska.  When we got back to our house, I started assembling the items on the list and had it all packed up by the time I went to bed.  Tomorrow I have an early flight to Victoria BC where I hope to add the Skylark to the year's list.  The pelagics did not add any new birds to the list so the total remains at 690.  And by the way Chris called to say that Sunday's trip also did not turn up the White-faced Storm-Petrel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No Gray Partridge

We drove east to Wells NV where we had breakfast in a brothel.  I didn't know that Nevada had legalized brothels a while back.  Once alerted to this fact I then understood the billboards advertising various "ranches" that heretofore I assumed were dude ranches (web photo).  After breakfast, which by the way was the worst meal I've had all year, we followed the directions we had been given yesterday and ended up at Angel Creek SP, a nice smallish camping area, but no partridges were there.  Neither were they in the agricultural areas to the south.  So back to Elko where we packed up and drove nearly non-stop to the Sacremento CA airport.  John and I parted ways, since his flight wasn't until tomorro morning.  My flight, however, was a red-eye,.  I chose this flight because it gave us an extra morning's birding should we have needed it for the snowcock and it got me home in time to drive down to NC for pelagic birding.  For my flight I was a little early (about three hours!) so I used the free wifi offered at the airport.  It's a nice service and allows travelers access to the web.  The flight boarded and departed on time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Himalayan Snowcock II

To have any chance of seeing the snowcock (web photo) required that we leave the motel at 3:00am, so we could start the climb up the hill to Island Lake at 4:00am, and arrive at the lake at 5:00am well before sunrise.  Island Lake is in Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains south of Elko.  This is the most convenient place to try to see the snowcock, an introduced bird from Asia that loves to live at excedingly rugged high altitudes.  It was cold when we started up the hill.  It took about an hour to make it to the lake during which time my flashlight faded out.  At the lake we hiked up a little higher to put ourselves on a bench where we could observe the scree slopes and the rim of the cirque.  When the sun began to light up the rim and we hadn't heard anything, I began to get that uncomfortable feeling.  John wandered off up the hill and came back shortly to say he had heard a sound and turned to see two large birds drop off the rim and fly around the corner out of view.  John had seen two snowcocks, but not very well.  But I hadn't seen or heard any!  Then we both heard a far off call from a snowcock probably on the next ridge.  So at least I had heard it.  By then I had moved up the hill where I could hear much better away from the stream.  I turned to investigate a sound that sounded like fussing Northern Flickers and was surprised to find two large birds flying toward me.  They were snowcocks.  They flew up the hill, passing John by only a hundred feet or so.  With such a close sighting of a difficult lifebird it was very easy going down the trail and back to the car.  Motoring back into town, we had a nice breakfast and spent the rest of the afternoon north of Elko looking for Gray Partridges which we didn't find.  When we got back to town, we stopped in at a store where we had received birding advice last June.  We wanted to see if there was some new info on the partridge, and we did get a location to try tomorrow morning.  Our dinner location was a basque restaurant which served us family style.  The snowcock was lifebird #4, ABA bird # 759, and year bird #690.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Willow Lake CA

For some time now one or more Yellow Rails have been calling from the end of Willow Lake near Chester CA.  This morning John and I decided to try and hear it call for us.  It took almost two hours to get to the lake from Red Bluff CA where we had overnighted.  The web directions were very good, but the last part of the route into the lake was a bit bumpy and narrow.  We parked and walked out along the lake edge to where the rail was known to call.  We worked the area for over two hours but we couldn't get any action.  John did, however, see something clamber over a treefall at the water's edge, but the sighting was so brief that no id was possible.  So we drove back into Chester where we had lunch and then put the pedal to the metal in the direction of Elko NV for our second try at the Himalayan Snowcock.  Last June we tried, but failed to even hear a snowcock.  This time we hoped for better.  We arrived in Elko at dusk and checked in at the Motel 6.  We had a nice dinner at one of the casinos nearby.  Then we set the alarm for 2:45am and retired.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ft Bragg CA Pelagic II

It was incredibly calm this morning when we all boarded our Shearwater Journey's boat, the Telstar, at the harbor in Ft. Bragg.  There were several passengers that had also been on the Friday trip, but also some new ones aa well.  It was good to see some friends for the first time in a long time.  Scott Tirrell and Peter Pyle were two of the leaders onboard.  Jen Fowler and her brother were aboard.  She was the caretaker of the nightingale-thrush in SD and was in CA for her brother's wedding next Friday.   Our course today was almost due south after we left the inlet.  We encountered numbers of Cassin's Auklets and a pair of Marbled Murrelets before we had gone very far.  We saw many of the birds we had seen on Friday.  However, we did add a new one....Hawaiian Petrel, which was a lifebird for me and definitely a new bird for the year (#689).  (Photos of my lifer are courtesy of Todd McGrath)  The petrel approached the boat from the stern, made a turn, went around the back of the boat, and along the starboard side.  Everyone got great looks at this rarity.  Later we got to see an immature Franklin's Gull, a good bird for CA just as it's a good bird for VA.  Again today there were good numbers of Sabine's Gulls, Buller's Shearwaters, and Long-tailed Jaegers.  We also saw a South Polar Skua.  When we got back to port, John and I quickly headed for the car and went to the nearrby Starbucks for a take-away coffee and snack.  We drove 200 miles across the coastal range and up I-5 to Red Bluff where we got a motel.  We're positioned for a run tomorrow morning for the Yellow Rail that has been calling at Willow Lake.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Day of Rest

Slept late this morning and dined on the breakfast offered by the motel. In late morning we drove to a state park on the beach a few miles north of Ft. Bragg. It turned out to be a gem. It had good access to the beach and the rocky islets just off-shore. We studied gulls and noted a few rock birds like Black Turnstone and Black Oystercatcher. The three Pacific cormorants were there plus lots of Harbor Seals with pups. After the beach walk, we discovered a trail that circled a freshwater pond.  The new habitat added birds to our day's list. It's hard to get used to seeing Steller's Jay and Pygmy Nuthatch at sea level. That's what moving several hundred miles north does. On the way back to the motel we picked up lunch both for today and for tomorrow's boat trip. I struggled through the Card's loss to the Cubs. Carpenter gave up two homers and that was the ballgame. I've posted a couple of images from yesterday's boat trip. The first is of Common Murres with young. Supposedly it's the males that care for the young at sea, so this image includes two such pairings. The young birds can be confused with murrelets, but since they seem always to be with an adult, it shouldn't really be a problem. The second image is that of one of several flocks of Sabine's Gulls that passed the boat. These were all adults. The young birds will be along later.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Ft. Bragg CA Pelagic I

Today was the first of two pelagic trips out of Ft. Bragg CA, a quaint town with a harbor allowing us access to the near shore waters of the Pacific Ocean.  We managed to get out about twenty miles or so.  The weather was quite cold with the temperature in the fifties.  There was also a lot of fog and the sun peeked through very rarely.  But we had birds around us the whole day.  We had a fine Long-tailed Jaeger show (photo) with as many as a dozen over and around us at times.  We also encountered several flocks of Buller's Shearwaters (formerly New Zealand Shearwater) sitting on the water (photo).  Their capped look reminds me of Great Shearwater.  We had many Black-footed Albatrosses but with numbers not quite as high as the trip out of Bodega Bay.  Late in the day we picked up a Laysan Albatross which followed us almost back to the harbor.  We didn't see many storm-petrels but the two we saw were noteworthy.  A Wilson's Storm-Petrel was great for the west coast crowd but not much of a thrill for an easterner.  However, the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel that appeared in the slick in the wake of the boat was a crowd pleaser for everybody and was bird #688 for the year.  Back on shore we checked into our new motel.  There's a soccer tournament in town so accommodations are squeezed.  We had dinner at an upscale Mexican restaurant where I had a chili relleno plate.  The chili was a spicy one, not the more usual mild poblano.  The Cards beat their dreaded rivals the Cubs.  All is well.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Coastal Range in Sonoma County California

We met Wes Fritz at 5:30am in the parking lot at the marina and charted a course that would take us north of Bodega Bay and into the higher elevations of Sonoma County.  Much of the early part of the drive was in the dark.  When it got light, we could see that many of the big trees we passed were coastal redwoods.  Some were very impressive.  We had been given a location in those woods by Bill Doyle, a participant on yesterday's pelagic trip, for a very southerly Sooty Grouse.  However, the directions were sufficiently vague that we ended up driving past the right spot.  But eventually we decided where the right place was, parked the cars, and got out near a coniferous grove.  We played the call of the grouse and almost immediately one called back in his deep, booming voice.  Several more booms were heard and then nothing for the next twenty minutes as we tried in vain to find the bird.  We finally got back in our cars and headed back to the coast where we poked along, stopping to scan the rocky shoreline and the ocean.  There were many Pigeon Guillemots, Pacific Loons, and three species of cormorants.  We arrived at Fort Bragg with plenty of time to scout out the location of the boat for tomorrow's pelagic trip, check into the motel, buy a couple of pieces of warm clothing and our lunch and snacks for tomorrow.  We had a lovely meal at an Italian fish house.  The grouse (web photo) brought the year's total to 687.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bodega Bay Pelagic

Following breakfast in our room, we drove to the marina where we checked in with Debi Shearwater and boarded the New Sea Angler for our trip out to Bodega Canyon and the Cordell Banks.  On the way out of the harbor we could see hundreds of Marbled Godwits, some Willets, and many Western Gulls.  In the near inshore we saw Pigeon Gillemots, Common Murres with young, and Sooty Shearwaters.  A little further out we ran into our first Ashy Storm-Petrels along with some Red-necked and Red Phalaropes.  Later came some Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets, Pink-footed and Buller's Shearwaters, and a Tufted Puffin.  We saw many migrating Sabine's Gulls and Long-tailed Jaegers.  At around 2pm our first of three Laysan Albatrosses flew in to the chum manned by Wes Fritz.  The albatross was number 686 for the year.  But the forty-plus Black-footed Albatrosses Wes chummed in greatly outnumbered the Laysans.  During the slow moments I chatted with fellow passenger Chris Hitt who is doing a lower-forty eight big year and doing very well I should say.  I met Chris first in Texas, then saw him in Florida and a week ago on the Condor Express out of Santa Barbara.  He has just returned from Nevada where he made his second attempt for the snowcock.  He heard at least two birds but never saw them.  That news helped increase our motivation to go for the snowcock after our current series of pelagics.  A further pelagic note: I saw my first Blue Whales today.  There were two of these giants of the sea - a real spectacle.  Tomorrow we're going to look for Sooty Grouse on our way to Fort Bragg for the next pelagic trip.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to California

My flight from Norfolk to California stopped in Minneapolis where I got a snack and a cup of coffee.  Back on the plane, I was delayed for an hour by a thunderstorm that closed the airport.  Got rolling again and made it to Sacramento in good shape.  John had already picked up the rental car and was waiting for me by the Starbucks.  But the service there was so slow that I decided not to wait.  We hopped into our Ford Fusion (web photo) and headed to Bodega Bay on the Pacific coast.  It was only a two hour drive, and we enjoyed the scenery and the Swainson's Hawks we saw along the way.  Once in Bodega Bay we checked into our hotel, the Bodega Coast Inn, and went to explore the town.  It was at this point that we cooperatively locked the keys in the car.  However, after a AAA service call, we were back on the road again.  We found the harbor, our boat for tomorrow, and where to park our car.  As some of you may recall, Bodega Bay is the site of the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," a horror film made in 1963.  Most every year Tippy Hedren, who starred in the movie, comes to town and holds a charity benefit.  This year is no exception, but we won't be here for her party.  From the dock we went to a deli where we had sandwiches made for tomorrow and also bought a breakfast burrito to eat in the room.  We ate at the Sandpiper Restaurant and retired to our room where I followed the Cards game and John read.  The Cards won and I went to bed with a smile on my face.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hatteras Pelagic II

Another gorgeous, hot day on the seas out of Hatteras NC with Brian Patteson on the Stormy Petrel II. The results were pretty much the same as yesterday with good looks at the warm water species. But no new birds again and it was getting late. I had eaten my lunch and was pacing the deck, trying to stay on the shady side of the boat. Then the call went out over the PA system, a bit garbled at first, and then very clear. A Herald/Trindade Petrel was in view. I caught a glimpse of the bird and thought that might be it, since these gadfly petrels don't usually spend much time near boats. But it turned and flew down the length of the boat allowing a flurry of photos to be taken. Even I got a couple of reasonable images. And then it was gone. A little later a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel put in an appearance at the back of the boat, making one good pass across the chum line. When we got back in to the dock, John and I headed back to Norfolk where John picked up his car and drove on to Staunton. On Tuesday we'll be in California for a series of three pelagic trips. Total is now 685.
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hatteras Pelagic I

Up at 5:00am and out the door to the marina where we got a breakfast sandwich and coffee and boarded the Stormy Petrel II.  Once outside the inlet, we took a SSE course.  After a couple of hours we saw our first pelagic bird, a Sooty Tern. web photo)  By the end of the trip we would see many more Sooty Terns plus Bridled Terns, Black-capped Petrels, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Audubon's Shearwater, Cory's Shearwaters, a few Great Shearwaters and phalaropes.  The non-pelagic birds seen were a Barn Swallow, a small flock of Sanderlings, and a calling Short-billed Dowitcher.  Marine mammals included Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Bottlenosed Dolphin, and two Gervais Beaked-Whales.  The water was very warm at 85F, but the sea was not rough.  No new birds.  Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Together again

This afternoon John drove to Norfolk and made the Prius to Prius switch of his backpack, and I drove off toward Hatteras for our boat trips tomorrow and Sunday.  Of course there was traffic, but we made it without much aggravation.  We located our motel, the dock area for tomorrow's pelagic trip, and returned to the motel to check in.  We were the last guests to do so.  Once in our room, I checked out the baseball scores while John read a novel.  It was good to be back together again

Monday, August 2, 2010

From LAX to ORF

The motel where I stayed near LAX (web photo) offered a continental breakfast.  I took them up on it.  Since I had printed out my boarding pass ahead of time, I felt I didn't need to get to the airport too early.  However, I gave myself two hours and used the motel shuttle which took me right to the Delta terminal at LAX.  Although I didn't have to check in, I still had to go through security.  That line was OUT THE DOOR.  Inside, the line snaked all over the place, then up the stairs, through a side room, and finally to a TSA person.  It took me over one hour to get through security.  But I still made the plane.  My stop was in Minneapolis since Delta acquired Northwest and Minneapolis was a hub for Northwest.  My layover was a bit long, but I got home.  Cards lost badly!  Next weekend John and I will do a pair of Patteson pelagics out of Hatteras.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Leisurely Day

I had a leisurely breakfast at an IHOP.  It was nice to see families still getting together for a breakfast out.  The family sitting at the table near mine had a girl, two boys, and the mom and dad.  The young lady had everyone organized into some sort of guessing game.  Everyone participated although the mom's cellphone was in use a couple of times.  One of the boys suggested they come back another time since during mid-week, kids eat free.  Then it was dad's turn to explain what "free" probably meant.
On to LA.  The drive was easy compared to that of a couple of days ago.  Got to the motel and checked in.  Monitored the Cards win over Pittsburgh.  Took the rental car back early and saved a couple of bucks.  Walked back to the motel and called Jeff Byrd who as it happens was in California doing some birding and heading toward LA.  We made arrangements to have dinner together.  That turned out to be an enjoyable time.  He did a trip to Arizona earlier this year and we compared notes.  Now he's trying for some CA birds he's missing, and doing it at a whirlwind pace.  I hope it goes well.
Sunday Night Baseball finished off the day.  Tomorrow it's airports, airplanes, and lines again.