At 09:34 AM 7/30/97 -0400, IAIN CAMPBELL wrote:
>It looks as though Iam going to be landed in North America for three weeks
>from the last two in September to the first week in October. I will spend
>time around Toronto to begin with, but does anyone have a great suggestion
>for the other two weeks. I will be alone, backpacking (unless my Ghana
>licence is accepted.) ... I was thinking about Arizona or Texas.
To make this of some more interest to birding-aus, it must be hard for an
Australian to imagine what a difference the seasons make in North America.
Most of our birds spend only 4 or 5 months here. Even in the south, like
Arizona or Florida, the winter is markedly less interesting. I was just
around Sydney in mid-July and was delighted to see some Superb Fairy Wrens
in full plumage; the equivalent Will Not Happen with e.g. our most
wonderfully diverse family, the Parulidae (wood warblers). On the other
hand, the migration is an amazing phenomenon.
Texas has more interesting birds than Arizona in the winter, and gets many
more migrants (birds following the coast of the Gulf of Mexico), so I'd say
that's a better bet that time of year. Most of south Texas is not very
attractive, though. Excellent guides are available for both states.
In the North, you'll want to get to migration channels and "traps."
Unfortunately, the warblers and others are in much duller plumage in Fall,
and the birds are not singing. Andrew Taylor mentioned hawk migration: the
most famous one is at Hawk Mountain in central Pennsylvania, maybe 500 Km
from Toronto. A greater raptor migration is in my own state of Minnesota,
as birds skirt the enormous Lake Superior (a record of 50,000 in a day)...
let me know if you're passing through here.
P.S. Isn't there a national automobile association (like the AAA in the US
or the RNMA or RACA in Australia) where you can get an International
Driver's License? (Maybe that's showing my naivete... though I did vist
Ghana, 25 years ago.)
James D. Hengeveld Biology Dept.
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 Indiana University