Showing posts from May, 2023

Iceland in April

April is an exciting time for the nature enthusiast to visit Iceland. While the weather can still be quite cold and snowy, winter's grip is loosening and signs of spring abound. Several minutes of daylight are gained each day, but there is still enough nighttime darkness to observe the aurora borealis through at least mid-month. It turns out that early spring is also an excellent time for whale watching, particularly if you are keen to find Orcas. Spring migrants are beginning to arrive, including flocks of European Golden Plovers and the first Atlantic Puffins of the year. Given all that, it made sense to consider a long weekend visit to Iceland in mid-April, especially since it is a direct 5-6 hour flight from the northeast USA. Known appropriately as an expensive destination to visit, costs can be considerably reduced by hiring a campervan. Being a super popular mode of transport + lodging in Iceland, there are plenty of companies to choose from. During this shoulder season, I r

May 16, 2023 Big Day - Last one for a while??

When this team of Connecticut birders first assembled back in May 2009, our lofty goal was to someday beat the long-standing state Big Day record of 186 species. That first year we tallied 177 ...a solid effort, but not quite in the ballpark. The following year we came oh-so-close with a total of 185 ...tantalizing! In 2011 we kept the improvements rolling and crushed the old record with 192 species . We have run dedicated Big Days nearly annually since in hopes of reaching the mythical number of 200, but we have done no better than 193 (2018). It's been quite a ride! Over the years we have improved our route and efficiency to the point where on a normal migration day we know we are likely to hit somewhere in the 188-192 range. Reaching 200 will take a hefty migration event and some luck (luck always plays a part, no matter how prepared you might be). Heading into this year, I felt like I soon needed a break from the all-out week-long effort we put into this annually. This might ha