I figured the mosquitoes that I experienced on the Betchler Lakes route, which was by far the worst I experienced on the entire trip, was preparing me for those swarms in WI that I I had been hearing about. I actually broke-out the first insect repellant of the trip - my prickly pear juice insect repellant, on stop 30 yesterday. Fortunately, they weren't too bad on the Saxeville route today, although the one dog-walker I encountered along the route complained loud and long to me about them.
33 DAYS - 33 ROUTES successfully completed! The field portion of the Quad 30 Campaign is officially over!!!! However, there are several tasks to be completed - assembling all the data sheets, making copies of them, and sending them along with the route map and other materials to the BBS office; working with Lennie to post some photos taken while on the trip; posting the final data and write-ups on the web site; working on more media coverage; sending out reports to all who have made financial contributions; and hopefully processing more contributions - HINT - HINT!
I'm a little tired but elated. Over the past few days, I could tell the end was nearing as my M&M supply was being depleted and nearing exhaustion, and I clearly could see the bottom of my pill/vitamin bottle. It had been a long drive from the "Soo" to Waupaca, but I did make a nice stop south of Escanaba to visit my friends, the Taylors. Char ran the Isabella route that I did on the 28th for many years, and Bill is retired from the Forest Service. Bill's undergraduate advisor in wildlife was my PhD major advisor at Cornell.
Today's route through northern Waushara Co. ended in downtown Plainfield, where I spotted my only swifts and House Finches for the route. The eastern half of the route passes through a variety of habitats, whereas the western half traverses mostly agricultural habitat, including several sizable potato fields that are irrigated. The 14 pewees were nice to hear, as was the sighting of 2 ravens. The Common Raven seems, according to the WBBA and seasonal field reports that are published in The Passenger Pigeon, the quarterly journal of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, to be extending its range southward in WI. It seems like we are seeing a number of birds extending their ranges northward in the state, but a few extending their ranges southward. The most abundant species tallied on the route were Mourning Dove and Chipping Sparrow with 51 individuals. Sparrow species totaled 8 along with Eastern Towhee (11 individuals), which I believe is decreasing in abundance. BBS data agree with my impression - a 1.7% and 1.8% annual decline in WI and survey-wide since 1966.
It's hard not to dwell on some numbers with the Quad 30 field work now completed:
1,648 stops (2 stops "missed") and times getting in and out of my Vue - no wonder the seat is tearing
808.5 miles of BBS routes and approximately 5,525 total miles
4,944 minutes (82.4 hr) of listening and watching
1,716 M&Ms, based on consuming 2 same-colored candies starting after stop 25 and continuing through stop 50 for 33 routes
179 bird species tallied for the Campaign - the EXACT number that I forecasted
And my sincere thanks to each of you for reading about the Campaign on these web pages and for hopefully making a financial contribution and a long-term commitment to bird conservation. Humans are certainly doing enough things to negatively affect bird populations; we also MUST do our part to assist bird conservation efforts! Our birds need our involvement!
Please continue to visit the web site as things are being wrapped up over the next few weeks. I've thoroughly enjoyed the Campaign and the support I've received over the past several weeks! It was fun.
AND, to LENNIE LICHTER, my never-ending debt of gratitude, for without Lennie's serious time and energy and expertise contributions, the Quad 30 Campaign web site would not have happened. I suggested the types of information that I wished to present, and Lennie took the suggestions and ran with them and made them happen!!!! THANKS Lennie!