March 8, 2015 - Fellow Rogue Birder Jacob Roalef recently posted about "Dip City" on his blog The Fire Birder . Alex Eber...

RBS - Getting Out of Dip City? - by Alex Eberts

March 8, 2015 -

Fellow Rogue Birder Jacob Roalef recently posted about "Dip City" on his blog The Fire Birder. Alex Eberts has been spending so much time there, we are starting to think he should just give up and buy a house. On Thursday Alex headed for Cleveland on an attempted vacation from that place we all despise - Dip City. Any chance he found a way out?
We shall see.


Getting Out of Dip City
 - Alex Eberts

Given the fact that I practically live in Dip City, USA, and seem to miss nearly all of the good birds I chase after, I decided to give the Cleveland area one last go for this winter. I had it all planned out; Saturday I would go pick up my friend Leslie at 5:30 am, we would make it to Cleveland by 8:00, and we would have plenty of time to see the good stuff! My goal was to come home with some new year birds, and hopefully a new life bird or two. 

Target 1 - DIP - Photo by C. Collins
Our first stop was Garfield Park Nature Center, which was where a male White-winged Crossbill had just been seen the morning before. Should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong! We tromped through snow that came up to our knees and stared at the feeders through a slit in the fence for an hour, only to be greeted by disappointment. 

Okay… I reasoned with myself that I could accept defeat for now, because the rest of the day will make up for it! So off we go to the Jefferson Avenue overlook to look for the Black-crowned Night-Herons.

We pull in, stand on the ledge, and start scanning. There was certainly no shortage of Great Blue Herons and cormorants, but there was a stunning lack of night-herons. We picked through all of the brush, but to no avail. They simply weren’t coming out from their hiding places. I went back to my car after about 40 minutes, defeated and angry. Twice in a row now! Come on! But at the last minute, I decided to go back out and scan again. There still weren’t any night-herons, but I did manage to get some great looks at a male White-winged Scoter. It was a nice booby prize, but I wanted my herons, dang it!
White-Winged Scoter - Photo by A. Eberts

Embracing defeat yet again, we went over to the Eastlake Power Plant to look for the Harlequin Duck that had avoided us on two prior occasions. We finally got there, and luckily there was no steam. The steam had prevented us from seeing them the last time we were there. However, there was also another crucial component missing: THE DUCKS! We could see maybe 30 or 40 total birds on the water, and none of them were the Harlequin. After an hour, we gave up and headed back to the car, where I repeatedly hoped that the duck would choke on a clam.

We decided to go to Scranton Flats next in hopes of finding a Thayer’s Gull to at least say the day wasn’t a total loss. En route, we met up with Chuck, who took us to the 3rd Street Bridge where, within ten minutes, we found an Iceland AND a Thayer’s Gull. We also had great looks at a local Peregrine Falcon. The Thayer’s was a lifer for me, so my day did a complete 180! We continued on to Scranton Flats, where we practiced our “Gull Zen” and managed to find another Thayer’s, two other good Thayer’s candidates, three more Icelands, and the Black-crowned Night-Heron I had so desperately wanted. After more than two hours in the freezing cold, my feet couldn’t take it anymore, so we decided to end our day by going to the Cleveland Hopkins Airport to find the Snowy Owl. 

Thayer's Gull - LIFER! - Photo by A. Eberts
I was afraid that as far away as it was, I would never find it. I was determined to find what was one of the small handful of Snowies left in the state, so I pulled my scope out, started scanning the rooftops, and there it was; the distant, but recognizable, silhouette of a beautiful white owl. UPDATE: It was a satellite dish - not an owl! (ccollins) I looked at Leslie, thought about the day we had just had, and started laughing. 

Snowy Owl (really!) - Photo by A. Eberts

Even though the day started off on a disappointing note, being able to walk away with three new year birds as well as a new lifer made me pretty damn excited! Maybe with this nice streak of birds, I'll finally be able to move out of Dip City? Let's hope!

Peregrine Falcon - Photo by Alex Eberts

Black-Crowned Night-Heron - Photo by Alex Eberts

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