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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Remembering Snow Storm Birding

As yet another snow storm was clobbering New York City today I received the following note from my friend Sean:

"Looking outside this morning it made me think of looking for Golden Eagles in white out conditions on Franklin Mountain.

Good times!"

Sean was referring to a day back in 2006 when he, Shane and myself drove to Franklin Mt. in upstate New York to look for Golden Eagles. This is what we encountered:

Shane continued the trip down snowy memory lane with:

"Starting to remind me of the Feb. 11-12 storm of 2006 that Sean and I drove upstate just after at my behest ("the traffic cameras in NJ show that the roads are pretty clear!"). That was for the Northern Hawk Owl in Orleans County. We had also finished the Western Gull pelagic just as that storm was starting up on the 11th.

BTW that storm still holds the record for 24 hour snowfall in NYC of 29+ inches!"

I decided to put dreams of rare birds aside that day preferring to stay warm ... and alive. Sean recalls:

"I always forget that those two trips were bookending one storm. What I will never forget is Rob's voice when I told him 'it was a go'. It was part, "You're out of your f-ing mind", and part, "Goodbye, I'm never going to see the two of you again!""

Thankfully, they both survived and actually managed to find some good birds.

Regarding the trip to Franklin Mountain, we didn't actually see any Golden Eagles that day, but managed to avoid frostbite to try again another day (we ended up finding them the following weekend in beautiful weather). You can read about that white out day here.

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