Early Days of Washington

This experience continues to be amazing. I’m asked over and over again, “What’s the best part of your trip so far?” I feel like it’s impossible to define. It’s one moving blur of learning from experts and having incredible sightings, unforgettable experiences, and tons of lessons.

Here’s an example of my incredible days. Today I drove two hours  to the location, hiked eight hours looking for Snowy Plover nests and seeing tons of awesome shorebirds, and then drove two hours home. I saw a mating pair of plovers being distressed by our presence, so we gave them space…but we were sure they had either laid eggs somewhere or were about to. All this happened while having a desperate desire for more coffee.

It’s just the most perfect experience of pushing me to learn how to be organized and to will myself forward despite all the challenges of constantly being on the move, meeting new people, and doing new things. Did I mention today I got to see a Black-bellied Plover with an actual black belly? The last time I saw one (San Diego!) it didn’t have breeding plumage. And I saw a ton of Horned Larks just testing their breeding calls (songs)!

And Portland? Portland was amazing! I now understand exactly what it is that draws people to that city. Even without the incredible Birdtrippers experiences (The condor breeding facility! The Audubon Wildlife Care Center! My first time on television!), I had a blast! We’ve just entered Washington, and I look forward to so much more.


I’m struggling to have the energy to write all the blog and social media materials I feel like “I could!” But, really, I’m just learning my limits. There are days when I stare at the computer after eight hours on my feet, taking in information and clinging to my coffee, begging words to pour out of my hands. But I’m getting better. What’s a migration without weary wings?

Even this post is early, because I’m finally getting the balance act of being on all the time: having multiple bosses and partnerships; facing piling demands; meeting tons of people; getting tons of emails from people that want to work with us on something cool; responding to messages from kids I want to continue to inspire after giving a presentation at their school; making sure I know my itinerary; making sure I’m doing my bird research, and writing and presenting in both my languages; driving for hours on roads I don’t know; and staying in contact with my friends and family.IMG_0326

It’s been the greatest trip of my life. Challenging, incredible, amazing, inspiring. It’s so much fun doing everything I’m doing, and so rewarding to grow from it. They should do this again with a new pair of interns on a new flyway. Heck, I’ll coordinate.

Right now on our instagram page you can see some sweet snapshots of our experience in Washington so far.

Christian McWilliams

Christian studied International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University with an interest in global environmental conservation, and has lived most of his life between Spain and the United States. Internship experiences during his studies have taken him up and down the East Coast of the US, and had him spend over a year in Mumbai. He enjoys keeping up with global and domestic news, volunteering, and a well made cup of coffee.

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