Eastern Time Zone Birding

Far and away the biggest gripe I have moving from Illinois to Indiana is the time zone change. One would not think moving east 140 miles longitudinal would make such a big difference. But moving from the eastern edge of the Central Time Zone to the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone has made a big difference in my birding.

The move pushes sunrise in June from 5:22AM in North-Central Illinois to 6:16AM in Central Indiana. Not such a big deal except in Illinois during spring migration I could get an hour of birding in before work. Up at 4:30, out at 5:15, and birding by 5:45 at a local state park. Back to the car at 6:45 and arrive at work around 7:00 AM. That is how I saw my first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Pileated Woodpecker. All in the same magical morning. And a Barred Owl was watching the whole time. And no, I did not feel like going to work after that. On other mornings I would explore grassland areas and if I got lucky I would see something special for North-Central Illinois like a Blue Grosbeak.

BLGR MSP 080812
Blue Grosbeak – Matthiessen State Park
August 8, 2012

In Indiana, it’s up at 4:45, looking out the window in the dark at 5:15, still dark at 5:45, and saying the heck with it and going to work at 6:15, still in the dark.

Now some might say, “Bob, that means you have more time to go owling on the weekends.” True. But for a guy who gets up at 4:30-4:45 anyway, getting up for owling wasn’t a big deal in Illinois.

So somehow I need to figure out how to go birding in the morning before migration starts next April.

OK, I feel a little better now that I have got that off my chest.

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