The 400 Bird Quest: Revenge at Last

Count Update: 404/ 400

December 7, 2018

I woke up north of Boston, before the sun, after a restful night’s sleep in the back of my rented SUV. Boston area hotels charge more than the cost of a week’s car rental. Outside temp is about 30. I feel like a champ. Fully as good as I did after the night before at the barely heated hotel near Cape Cod. So take that lodging industry!

Nearby Plum Island / Parker River NWA in far north Massachusetts, is a locally famous birding spot, and known Snowy Owl hang out. Jeff is busy at work till mid-afternoon, so I head out there. I don’t find the owl, but enjoy the ocean sunrise, and tally 42 species. The highlight was an American Bittern that flushed out of some tall grass on a frozen solid marsh. Why is he still here in December?

My last birding stop was at Hampton Beach State Park, New Hampshire. A vacant sandy beach, that’s looks like it would be crowded in the summer. I scoped the beach, then the rocky jetty. There is Great Cormorant perched there. A flock of something small and white flies into view from the left, low and fast. They land on the big jetty rocks. 30+ Sanderlings. These shorebirds typically hang out on the sandy beaches running back and forth in the surf looking for morsels as each wave recedes. Like the Bittern, I am thinking these guys should be way down south by now. I scan the flock through my scope. There are a few dark ones in the flock. Drab grey-brown, longer curved bills. Winter plumage Dunlins. Also interesting. I scan further through the rocks. When what to my wondering eyes should appear? But 6 or 8 tiny Purple Sandpipers (#404), this ID is clear. “Gotcha! You little degenerates! You’re mine now!.” Their menacing plots to hide from me in FL, GA, SC, and MA were finally foiled. They were no longer on the lam. I’m pretty sure I even saw them drop their heads in shame when I spotted them?

Or maybe I’ve over personifying the conspiracy thing just a little? Maybe it’s time to rest the binocs just at bit? … Nah