A Travellerspoint blog

Birds among the Coronavirus Pandemic

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all seasons in one day 41 °F

Although birds are a bit more of an asterisk in this post than usual, I thought it necessary to give an update about my travels since the Coronavirus is flaring up around the country. On monday, Tian and I rode the megabus down from NYC to DC for spring break to tour the city. Here are a few photos from our brief stay in the nation’s capitol—

We were planning on remaining until saturday, but the Manhattan School of Music (as well as a plethora of other institutions of learning throughout New England) cancelled classes next week, so we thought it best to return to Chicago ASAP. In case of state or city-side quarantines, we didn’t want to be stranded without anywhere to go! Other institutions which have cancelled classes or moved to online instruction in the city include Juilliard & Mannes Schools of Music, NYU, Barnard, Columbia, & Fordham Universities, as well as more far-flung schools including the Curtis & Cleveland Institutes, Eastman School of Music, and Princeton. Harvard has even cancelled the remainder of the semester!

So, upon learning that flights were extremely expensive for the next two days between the two cities, we booked onto the 4pm Amtrak on wednesday from Washington DC — Chicago, my first-ever long-distance train service, on the “Capitol Limited!” Downside: no wifi. Upside: quality time with Tian and some great views throughout the Adirondacks of West Virginia and the eastern US.

Even saw a few birds along the way, including a distant-but-recognizable BALD EAGLE:

One upsetting experience happened within the first hours of the trip; we were admiring the view from the famous “observation car” when an older white man and a crew member (who happened to be a darker-skinned lad) got into quite the squabble. The man had swung around his chair so that it protruded into the aisle so, accordingly, the crew member asked him to move the chair to his original position. The man proceeded to fight with him, saying “So everyone else is okay with my chair like this, but not you?!” Aside from this being downright rude and stupid (it is that hard to move your seat?!), it was a blatant microaggression as this hillbilly obviously wouldn’t be corrected by a person of color! Ridiculous! Since the man never complied, my inner tattle-tail prevailed and I alerted a senior crew member of this, who then I hope admonished the man. As a side note, I heard the man talking about how coronavirus can be likened to “Revelations” in the Bible, and all I have to say is that if you are that religious, try to act the part! What a hypocrite. Traveling on an amtrak train, one certainly experiences a cultural cross-section of society here in the US...

On a lighter note, whenever on Amtrak, I make an effort to buy a pack of skittles since the first time I can remember riding Amtrak with my Grandma Ida I did so, and it has been a fond, vivid memory since then. So here is the commemorative skittle pack which I was happy to share with Tian:

The rest of the journey was uneventful. Tian got some sleep but I can almost never sleep on trains or airplanes, so I spent a lot of time immersed in reading or looking out the window. A 17-hour train trip is truly surreal: to see half the country whiz by in a blur of lights and foreboding nighttime trees is an unforgettable experience, especially when it comes a the expense of a good night’s sleep!

So now Tian and I are back in Chicago and plan to stay home until it looks safe to return to the Big Apple. At my parents’ and my discretion, I will go on some personal birding trips, but they will also be limited because I will strictly bird by car: no more public transport as long as this coronavirus is a threat. A few days ago, Tian and I were out walking along Monroe Harbor in Grant Park and although very few ducks were present overall, we did have a sleeping COMMON GOLDENEYE:

Hey there!

And we were treated to a nice view of an AMERICAN CROW, a bird I realize that I seldom photograph.

Today, Tian, Pearl, and I visited Thatcher Woods in search of early migrants. My best bird of the day was an unphotographed RED-SHOULDERED HAWK which was chased away by this territorial RED-TAILED HAWK:




Among the birds seen today, I noted a hawk “trifecta of the aforementioned RED-SHOULDERED & RED-TAILED HAWKS in addition to a COOPER’S HAWK which woke me up calling this morning! Bird-of-the-day to the three hawks. Signing off for now...

Stay safe, everyone!
World Life List: 1111 Species

Posted by skwclar 22:48 Archived in USA

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My sister and I did the Coast Starlight trip from Seattle to LA and back to Seattle last summer, rented a sleeper. Ate great food and saw the back side of our country. Some not so pretty, most beautiful! Had some bad neighbors for part of it but otherwise really enjoyed the trip. Some birds along the way but moving to fast to recognize so mostly by families and we saw whale spouts along the coast. We did ride trains as kids between Salt Lake and Boise.
We’re harbored here at home, sitting at my bird window. And spring cleaning is sure to happen!????

by Poo

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