As I was standing on the side of a Little League field today, watching my 9 year old son play shortstop – the very cool and raw winds of New England still blowing – when I realized that in less than 24 hours I would be standing in 75+ degree weather looking at Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and perhaps even a Swainson's Warbler or two... what a contrast! I just wish my family was coming along too. Instead, I have my Audubon family of 10 intrepid adventurers, many who will soon have 100 or more new life birds under their belts on our 10 day trip to the Texas coast, valley, and hills.
I have been packing, unpacking, and repacking all day! This is the first time I will ever travel with a laptop in tow and it has pushed my collection of electronic equipment over the top. Camera, spotting scope, two pairs of binoculars (the spare for anyone in the group if needed), many books, clothes, rain gear, GPS, iPod, tripod, and maybe some other "pod" I'm forgetting. My World traveling Grandfather once told me the key to a successful trip was "Bring half as much luggage and twice as much money." He really was a wise man!
I leave the house at 3:30am to pick up one of the travelers and head for the airport. 6 am departures are not my favorite but, they really keep you from wasting the day. We are truly lucky to have dodged the delays that American Airlines had suffered in light of their FAA inspections, resulting in 2000+ canceled flights over the last four or five days.
Wish us luck! Lots of birds ahead!