By: Pat Coate
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or so many parents think as summer begins to fade and school swings back into session. For me, the back to school ritual has come to include a 600 mile trek to the Midwest to drop my daughter off at college. It is always a fun trip – I love having a captive audience and our conversation topics are varied and entertaining. We have also started a little tradition of (or really, my daughter puts up with) a contest to see which we see more of along the way– state license plates or bird species.
Some trip highlights:
• Packing the car was a bit like playing Tetris; the neighbors were amazed all her stuff actually fit.
• Despite the shaky economy, there seem to be a lot of people traveling. We saw a record 37 state license plates (74%), 3 Canadian provinces, and a car with Diplomat plates – going about 85 mph, of course.
• Birds ranged from bald eagle in WNY to sand hill cranes along the Indiana tollway to the ubiquitous house sparrow found at most stops along the way. We totaled 32 species versus the 37 state license plates.
• Made a quick but productive birding stop at North Chagrin Reserve east of Cleveland. More details in a future post.