I've finished the summer research on the social structure of a common yellowthroat population. I've been having a conundrum - Southern Adirondack Audubon I'm sure would love me to do a write-up for their newsletter, so do I talk about the research in here too? Or do I wait?
The universe has administered beatings ever since that finished - I came down with Lyme Disease 2.0, the antibiotics have constantly made me nauseated, I cannot find a full-time job (but I do now have 2 part-time retail ones, meh) and instead of going to do more research I desire to try to pay off one of my student loans instead. And, well, things aren't working out with that due to the job misery! GAH.
I've snuck some birding in lately though. I'm back regularly at the Betar Byway, and have made a new friend out of a retired DEC guy who has begun frequently walking there too. He's super cool, and I hope he can make it to the Audubon walks on Fridays at Betar, as he wants to go. I also met a really neat fisherman from Arizona there. Betar is, of course, bird-y as ever, and if you live in this area and haven't been, well, get your butt over there. My current favorite is the juvenile Double-crested Cormorant who apparently is in love with that part of the Hudson River. The perfect sighting of a juvenile Cooper's Hawk being mobbed by crows was also amazing, watching the hawk wheel and dart through the trees. A fledgling yellowthroat made it's way over there one day, causing me to seriously miss research.
I also bought binoculars - REAL BIRDING binoculars, finally, after two years! I will not discuss was I was using before. Too embarrassing. This trip was also somewhat embarrassing, as I obtained a speeding ticket driving back from the first shop I went to.. I also will not mention what shop that was, but it was terrible. The owner has become a bitter man, and has a collection of only one very terrible brand. So I drove back up to Wild Birds Unlimited in Wilton, NY and tried out 4 pairs of binoculars. This might not sound like enough to you, but I had been there in May and tried out a lot more. It didn't take long this time for me to want to refuse to give back a pair of 8x42 Eagle Ranger ED bins. These things are amazing. I nearly fell over the first time I looked at an actual bird through them. I have a really hard time putting them down at all!
Yesterday I finally summited Buck Mountain (2330 ft, 6.6 mile trail)! I've tried this before, but the trail is rather brutal - steep, rocky, with some wet crossings, and no good views until the very summit. I regretted not bringing my binoculars yesterday, I could have received great views of hermit thrushes, of which the woods were loaded with, surpassed only by a surplus of red-eyed vireos who sang all the way up until near the top. The habitat near the summit changed to stands of red pine mixed with hemlock, and other stands of striped maple - this was loaded with woodpeckers, including hairy, pileated, and what sounded like yellow-bellied sapsuckers. The summit itself was chock-full of blueberries and huckleberries all ripe and so there were purple finches and cedar waxwings, and I wasn't surprised to be visited by a few dark-eyed juncos: I always find them on mountaintops here in the summer. A lone common raven called loudly near the summit, unseen.