Thursday, June 6, 2013

Birding from Airplanes

I flew home yesterday. No, not my actual home in Peterborough but my home in Oregon where I grew up. Anyways, I was looking for birds around the Buffalo airport and it was a bit difficult; a Starling or two and a Ring-billed Gull were all I could find. After a quick email exchange with Damon about the poor birding opportunities in the airport, he challenged me to start my "Birds seen while on the airplane list". Challenge accepted!

My first flight from was Buffalo, New York to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We would be flying over the Great Lakes, so the birding possibilities seemed quite good. Shorebirds, waterfowl, maybe some high-flying warblers? Who knows?! However, before the birding starts we need some ground rules. For example, should I only count a bird while the plane is in the air? Does seeing a bird while waiting at the gate or taxiing count? I understand from Damon that these questions have been kicked around for awhile and are at the root of several heated arguments, though Damon and I are both of the "If you are in the plane, it counts" category. With that, let's let the plane birding begin.

Luckily I had a window seat and would have a good vantage point during the flight. I settled into my seat and starting scanning the tarmac. No birds. I did see my bag thrown onto the conveyor belt by the very nonplussed baggage guy, but other than that, nothing. Lots of pavement and everything was very still.

Ok, then. After browsing the in-flight magazine and the sky mall, we started backing from the gate. Now I could really start birding! That's when I saw the gull. It was loafing near the edge of the tarmac, but without my field glasses I can't really say what it was. We lifted off and most of the flight looked like this.

Birding on Delta Flight 3398
My next connection was a late evening flight, which made seeing any additional birds quite difficult. Nonetheless, I have broken the plane bird list competition wide open with my one unidentified gull species. Good luck to Damon in beating this record!

Paul's Birds Seen from the Plane List
1; Unidentified gull species; 6-3-2013; Delta Flight 3398; Near Buffalo Airport; Buffalo, NY

No comments:

Post a Comment