Yes, it is official. 30 BBSs have been completed, and they were done consecutively. So, what am I still doing out on the road? In planning the Campaign, I wanted to have a couple of "extra" routes in case of weather or other problems so I "reserved" 33 BBS routes. Therefore, I started "early" in Ohio with surveys on May 30 and 31 and scheduled the 33rd one in WI for July 1. Tuesday's and Wednesday's routes are in the eastern portion of the Hiawatha National Forest near the Soo; I'll be traveling primarily forest roads where the species diversity will be rather small.
About half of today's route was within the western part of the Hiawatha. I'm familiar with most of the area since a few years ago, We Energies constructed a major electrical transmission line in this area. For many years this BBS route was surveyed by good friend Char Taylor of Escanaba. She had excellent written descriptions of the stops, but one sidenote caught my eye last night as I was reviewing the maps. "Man in trailer is very abusive if you stop too close to his trailer."
The weather was absolutely gorgeous today with a significant amount of ground fog that provided some unbelievable surreal scenes as the sunlight penetrated and "burned" off the fog. It was like someone knew that this was my 30th BBS! Blue skies, no wind, and cool temperatures were the order of the day. With last night's rain showers, everything was quite wet this morning, and even as late as stop 25, the woods were dripping so much that it sounded like rain was falling.
The portion of the route that traversed the National Forest belonged to the world of Red-eyed Vireos (61), Ovenbirds (53), and Hermit Thrushes (30). At one stop as I was being serenaded by 4 hermits, I thought they had converted me to their side, but later, a lone Wood Thrush quickly pulled me back to its side of the ledger as to which thrush is my favorite songster. I added Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Canada Warbler to the route's cumulative list. The only red-wing was a male that was mobbing a male harrier. I don't know when the chase began, but about 2 minutes later, here came the red-wing flying back toward where he first picked up the raptor. When I first was alerted to the red-wing, I was watching a black-and-white that was perched like a statute. As soon as the raptor and red-wing flew past, it resumed foraging in the characteristic fashion favored by this warbler. As I broke into the "developed" world, I began to encounter edge and open habitat species. Stop 50 in Manistique yielded 4 "firsts" for the morning - both gull species, swift, and grackle.
So, on to the "bonus" routes!