This is the best part of the trip
This is the trip, the best part I really like

— Jim Morrison, The Soft Parade

Wow, has it really been five years since the very first edition of I and the Bird? Indeed it has! Even back then, we were a far-flung assemblage of international avian observers. Over the years, thanks to hundreds of contributors and thousands of posts, I and the Bird has hyper-linked to the farthest corners of the world, or at least those nooks and crannies with awesome birds! And while a significant milestone like this makes for an apt opportunity to consider why each of us devotes so much time to blending birds and blogging (why are you still bird blogging anyway?), sometimes the most enjoyable thing a bunch of birders can do is sit around and share great trip reports.

If one excavates deeply enough down through layers of causality, the direct connection between I and the Bird and birding travel is laid bare.  I built 10,000 Birds while still buzzing from my first taste of Central American birding and later connected with many of the original contributors through a mutual fascination with our avian excursions. The success of our happy birding blog carnival over the years stems from the siren song suitability of a basic blog as a platform for recounting birding adventures. As long as birders continue to seek out new birds in new places, we’ll have trip reports about those travels. Rest assured, birders will NEVER stop traveling.

Honestly, who is as attuned to travel as we who watch the world’s most magnificent migrants? Not only are the objects of our keen attention attenuated in flight from nation to nation, pole to pole, but we ourselves roam and rove in search of the most, best, and rarest birds. Birders migrate, peregrinate, and accelerate, impelled to understand a world that grows wider and wider through its avifauna. What a wonderful way to live!

Some bird near…

Laura of Birds, Words, & Websites doesn’t mind seeking out visitors from abroad in her own home territory. Her epic, three-part Black-headed Gull story with the “fabled European ending” starts here.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even the most exotic birding locations are local for some. Pat O’Donnell of Costa Rica Living and Birding hit a place where Green Thorntails and Snowcaps fly within arm’s length, the El Copal reserve near Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica.

Eva of The Flying Mullet swept up a whole bunch of sweet South Florida birds are part of a February 2009 Big Day.

Michael Willis of Backyard and Beyond out of Brooklyn found the phragmites-filled Four Sparrow Marsh during an intra-borough trip.

Larry of The Birder’s Report recently enjoyed relatively local Northern California Birds of Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Quite a migrant himself, Pete MacGregor of Pohanginapete visits New Zealand’s Manawatu estuary to ruminate on the mysteries of migration patterns.

Ambika of Madras Ramblings found herself in Ranthambhore, far away from her home in Madras/Chennai, composing verse inspired by the sight of India’s National Birds courting in front of some public restrooms.

Mick of Sandy Straits and Beyond observed the most amazing bird spectacle he’s ever seen just 37 km from his Australian home; tens of thousands of terns in one place make a major impression!

Joan of Anybody Seen My Focus only had to travel a few counties over in Georgia to spy one of North America’s most wonderful woodpeckers.

Elizabeth of Yips and Howls only needed to wander out to her Oregon apple orchard to find both birds and temptation, or at least the natural representation thereof.

Nate of The Drinking Bird does much of his best birding close to his North Carolina home as evidenced by this Seiurus-ly cool warbler report.

Clare of The House and other Arctic Musings clarifies just how relative the concept of “near” can be in a geographic sense as he shares his Arctic avian observations at the Floe Edge.

Some bird far…

Andrew and Sarah of Listening Earth Blog traveled from Australia to Turkey to see tons of terrific Turkish birds and capture one last dawn chorus.

Natalie of dreamfalcon usually watched birds in Oregon but got great shots of a Blue Whistling Thrush building a nest in Nepal.

Grant McCreary has embraced the idea of traveling for birds. On his birding blog Birds on the Brain, he describes Too Close an Encounter with a Snowy Owl in Minnesota while at The Birder’s Library, he shares one of his all-time favorite birding trips. Over a week spent in Colorado in April 2007 watching lekking grouse and other cool birds… what’s not to love?

The Ridger left the madness of The Greenbelt in Maryland for a sweet road trip from Seattle to Tahoe. Of course, she saw many of the beloved Birds of the Northwest.

Amber of Birder’s Lounge visited Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast of Texas back in October 2009 and found herself contemplating not only super shorebirds but also national ocean policy for the Gulf Coast. Timely, no?

Speaking of the Gulf, Hugh of Cornell’s Round Robin blog has been visiting Louisiana shorebird colonies, both oiled and unoiled, and offering a bit of biological insight about what’s happening.

Jeff Gordon is well acquainted with the best of birding travel. For example, he’ll tell you that you’ll never see a Slaty Vireo unless you visit southwest Mexico and if you go to southwest Mexico and don’t see a Slaty Vireo, well, you’ve really missed something special. Don’t miss his report, complete with vireo, out of Oaxaca.

Certain wood warblers are worth the trip as well, as John of A DC Birding Blog can attest. He crossed state lines In Search of the Golden-winged Warber.

Who was lucky enough to travel to Central America with Amy Hooper of WildBird on the Fly and Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optik? WildBird magazine’s 2009 Birder of the Year won, among other amazing prizes, a trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica.

While we’re on the subject of Costa Rica, check out the amazing photos Jill of Count your Chicken! We’re Taking Over! brought back from her adventures there.

Ken Januski of art, birds, nature shares details of a spring trip to Cape May, NJ that is less about the birds he saw than about sketching the birds as he saw them.

Many magical birding trip moments and reports flow naturally from attending birding festivals. Wren of Wrenaissance Reflections shares her top 10 reasons to attend the New River Birding and Nature Festival in West Virginia.

Carrie of Great Auk – or Greatest Auk? enjoyed many fine birds in Florida but perhaps none more than her Black Friday Burrowing Owl.

Some birders like to travel in style, a concept embodied in Rick Wright’s Tuscany: Birds and Art tour from May 2010. Wow!

Others like Gunnar Engblom want to fit in as much as possible in whatever time they have. Seriously, only four days to do Unchog and Carpish, including the overland journey from Lima? Insane!

Susannah of Wanderin’ Weeta traveled all the way to another country — though that was just a quick jaunt across the U.S. border — and was rewarded with a lovely bird, a Black Oystercatcher.

Some bird everywhere they are…

Birding means searching out and enjoying the birds where you find them. Some of the most ardent aviaphiles do their birding in research journals, as Grrlscientist of Living the Scientific Life does in this analysis of how Distressed Ravens Show That Empathy Is For The Birds, Too.

The most profound birding trips cover more than just miles. The Great Man of Gippsland himself, Duncan of Ben Cruachan Blog took this occasion to explore his 70-year+ relationship with birds across Australia. This is the Trip of a Lifetime indeed, one more that I feel privileged to have shared through our collective celebration of birding trips and reports.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your most treasured trip reports, not just today but every day on your blog. This is what the best of birding and wild bird blogging is all about!

With five years down, we’re halfway to our first decade of the world’s best bird blogging. Won’t you be a part of it? Our next host will be the jubilant Jill Wussow of Count your Chicken! We’re Taking Over! (exclamation points hers!) Send your links and summaries to me or Jill (hellohammerhead AT gmail DOT com) by July 20 for the 7/22 edition.

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Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.