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  • Writer's pictureEdward Leonard

Where do I go?

In about one month, I planned to take a 2 month leave of absence from my job of 27 years. I'd been debating this leave for about 6 months after hitting a celing in my current role. Despite finishing one of the largest projects the team I am on has seen, it is not enough for a promotion. Now that the project is nearly finished, it isn't even clear what I will work on that will be interesting.


3 weeks ago, I finally made the decision. I need to change somethings up. Last summer, I had met up with an old collegue and he made a comment, "You are the same old Ed I remember." It wasn't meant as a compliment. He could see I was stuck. I wasn't sure then, but it is clear now I should have listened.


So now that, I applied for leave and it was approved; what do I do? Where do I go? I am not interested in sitting around the house. Nor am I interested in searching for a job at the moment. I want to travel. I want to camp. I want to see 100 birds this summer.


ChatGPT has suggestions:


In July and August, the best places to see a wide variety of bird species in the United States are typically those that have rich and diverse habitats, as well as migratory stopover points. Here are some prime birdwatching destinations for these summer months:

1. Alaska: Kenai Peninsula and Denali National Park

  • Kenai Peninsula: Coastal and wetland areas provide opportunities to see seabirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Look for puffins, auklets, and murrelets.

  • Denali National Park: Offers a chance to see northern species such as the Northern Hawk Owl, Gyrfalcon, and various warblers.

2. California: Point Reyes National Seashore and Mono Lake

  • Point Reyes National Seashore: Excellent for coastal birds, seabirds, and raptors. Look for species such as the Western Gull, Common Murre, and various pelagic birds.

  • Mono Lake: Famous for its unique alkali fly and brine shrimp populations, attracting species like the Wilson's Phalarope and Eared Grebe.

3. Arizona: Southeast Arizona including Madera Canyon and the San Pedro River

  • Madera Canyon: Known for its hummingbirds, including the Magnificent Hummingbird and Blue-throated Hummingbird.

  • San Pedro River: Provides habitats for diverse species like the Gray Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, and numerous warblers.

4. Minnesota: Sax-Zim Bog

  • Sax-Zim Bog: Known for its boreal species, including the Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, and various woodpeckers. While winter is peak, summer can still be rewarding for birdwatchers.

5. Florida: Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park

  • Everglades National Park: Home to wading birds, raptors, and many other species. Look for Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, and Wood Storks.

  • Dry Tortugas National Park: Accessible by boat or seaplane, it's a hotspot for seabirds, including Sooty Terns, Brown Noddies, and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

6. Texas: Rio Grande Valley and High Island

  • Rio Grande Valley: Rich in tropical bird species like Green Jays, Altamira Orioles, and Plain Chachalacas.

  • High Island: While spring is the peak migration season, summer still offers a variety of resident and some migrating species.

7. New Jersey: Cape May

  • Cape May: Known for its bird migration spectacles, summer provides excellent opportunities to see shorebirds, seabirds, and a variety of passerines.

8. Maine: Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island

  • Acadia National Park: Offers habitats for seabirds, warblers, and raptors. Look for Puffins, Common Eiders, and Bald Eagles.

  • Mount Desert Island: Another excellent spot for coastal and woodland birds.

9. Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Alpine and subalpine habitats are home to species like the White-tailed Ptarmigan, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, and various warblers and flycatchers.

10. Oregon: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

  • Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: Known for its diversity of waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. Look for Sandhill Cranes, American Avocets, and various ducks.

Tips for Birdwatching:

  • Timing: Early mornings and late afternoons are typically the best times for bird activity.

  • Gear: Bring binoculars, a spotting scope, and a field guide specific to the region you are visiting.

  • Preparation: Check local birding reports and join birding groups or guided tours for the best experiences.

  • Respect: Follow ethical birdwatching guidelines, maintain a respectful distance from birds, and avoid disturbing their habitats.

By visiting these hotspots, you’ll maximize your chances of seeing a diverse array of bird species during the summer months in the United States.


Other than Oregon and Arizona, I am not sure. I will keep working on refining my question.

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