We started in Missouri where, honestly, I haven't done much birding. Although I haven't tried much, I still insist on making at least one eBird checklist every day, rain or shine, despite the situation. Because of that, it looks like I've scored a couple of new state birds (not that I keep careful track of my MO state list). Some recent additions included BROWN CREEPER, GREAT HORNED OWL, and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. Yeeeah, like I said, I didn't have much of a state list to begin with.
Then it was off to western New York state to visit family and such. I was eager to see if any fall color remained on the hillsides this late into the season. Turns out, Ash and I found some nice yellows without too much trouble:
This spot, not that you know it or anything, we call Alma Pond. And indeed, there is a pond there. Here's a panorama complete with a noticeable lack of fall colors on the far hillside:
However, the woods/water were extremely quiet in the 15 minutes we were there. Here's the "breathtaking" checklist (with only 3 species on it). At least you can click on the map link on the checklist and see where on earth it is though.
I think it's safe to say that Allegany County, where I was born almost exactly 32 years ago, is severely under-birded. There are a few hotspots though and Ashley and I visited a couple of them just to see what was going on.
One of those local spots is Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area in the northwest part of the county. Although the birding was slow, it was an adventurous time exploring a bog I didn't know existed. Here are a couple of views of it:
We spent about an hour there and came up with a rather unimpressive 21 species. Here's our list. On the plus side, the PBGR and FOSP were new county birds for me (again, it's hard to be impressed with that considering my county list hasn't even topped 100 yet!).
A week later, it was time to drive back to Missouri (with an imminent start to "phase 2"). However, I can't just waltz through three dozen new counties and not do anything about it! That's right, I kept tabs on the birds I saw from NE Missouri all the way to western NY and put my results in eBird. The result, as you can see below, is a nice swath of blue stretching through central Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio:
So here we are, back in Missouri and starting to pack. Stay tuned....