Tomorrow my time in the Hughes Scholars Program comes to an end for the summer with a poster session and evening reception. I've toiled endlessly the past few days with last-minute data, analysis, and poster design. The poster is finally finished and printed, ready for use at Hughes, then the AOU conference and ultimately its final resting place outside the Evo Lab. After the minor gala Friday night, I will be boarding a bus to begin the most exciting trip I've taken since last fall's NAOC in Veracruz, Mexico.
I begin by flying into Denver, CO, on Saturday, where I will meet up with fellow herp nerd and gecko breeder Joe Farah, and we'll head southeast to Otero County for some of the best herping in the state. Shawn Billerman and I will always be keeping our eyes to the sky while flipping, of course - there are many desert grassland birds that make it into this corner of Colorado. As it is my first time birding east of the Mississippi, there are MANY lifers waiting for me!
From Otero, Joe departs, and we head west for Monday's birding around Pueblo and Canon City, in a variety of habitats. Then we will head back north, and bird Mt. Evans with hope for Brown-capped Rosy-finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan. By Tuesday, we will meet up some Cornell alum birder buddies of ours, and strike north, birding Rocky Mountain National Park before heading to the conference in Laramie, WY.
After the conference, Shawn and I fly out of Denver back to Long Island. We will spend several days birding and herping, hoping to enjoy shorebird migration and get a chance to find Eastern Hognose Snakes. We will meet up with two Cornell friends, and drive down to the NJ Pine Barrens, where even more cool snakes await our coverboard flips. We will finally arrive back home in Ithaca on August 20th, a mere 3 days before the fall semester begins.
Where does that leave this blog? Probably woefully neglected. However, I will have my laptop on my ventures, and if I can find sporadic internet access (hopefully at the conference) I will do what I can to post from the field. Otherwise, have a great August! I'll be back in the fall.