I'm writing this from the comfort of a McDonalds booth in Las Vegas. I've been cleaner places this year, but this isn't the worst of them. The man on drugs outside was nice and didn't give me much of a hard time, other than wanting to know my name. "Justin Tyme Tueleaf" I replied.

I don't think he got it.

I'm posting this sporadic, spur-of-the-moment update, as I kind of feel bad for not being on top of the blog update game lately. I have 6 posts in queue now, none of them finished. Some are waiting on pictures, others are waiting to be boiled down to summaries from my writing. Bad internet connections, rare birds, and a desire to take a break from a computer screen this election week have been contributing factors to not having them done.

Let me give you a brief update:

Two days ago I drove south from Seattle, after figuring out all of my car issues. I'm now registered and licensed in Washington, glad that's behind me. I managed to see the Common Scoter in Oregon by some good timing and sheer luck, and have some bad photos of it, from both days.

That black bird in front of the gull is a Common Scoter... trust me. 

That black bird in front of the gull is a Common Scoter... trust me. 

A week ago, I saw a Fork-tailed Flycatcher in Michigan with Laura. It was a nice looking bird, and I met many nice birders while I was there- all of three hours. I have a way of arriving right before flycatchers disappear (Pine, Variegated, now Fork-tailed) so I give it 3 days until it's MIA in the ABA.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher, one of my most-wanted ABA vagrants. 

Fork-tailed Flycatcher, one of my most-wanted ABA vagrants. 

Before that, I chased Gray-headed Chickadee in Alaska. It was a crazy trip that may have been outside my means, but it is a Big Year and when am I going to have another chance to fly in a bush plane and get dropped off in the wilderness with 3 of my birding friends? Right. I did see a Chickadee, and I did write all about it. It just might be a Gray-headed. I even have photos (only of a Boreal) Lots of bear tracks too. 

How's that for a cliffhanger? 

Boreal Chickadee, somewhere out in the Alaskan bush.

Boreal Chickadee, somewhere out in the Alaskan bush.

And finally (weeks ago now) I was in Barrow again. It was cold, the sea ice was far from land, and no Ivory or Ross's Gulls in sight. I had a great time regardless, because who goes to Barrow twice in the same year? This kid.

Barrow is frozen, waiting for snow.

Barrow is frozen, waiting for snow.

Where to now, you ask? I'll tell you, because I'm not in a competition. I'll show all of my cards, if I have cards to show. I'm in full clean-up mode, heading to Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri. My birds are on my needs list page- feel free to have a look. When I'm not driving or birding, I'll be working on finishing my stories, and blogs for you to enjoy. 

Take a minute and be thankful. You're alive, living in a pretty great corner of the world. It may not seem like it sometimes, but that's when you can go outside and look at birds, and temporarily forget about it all.

At least that's what I'm going to do.