Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Vanderpoel Reaches 650!

John Vanderpoel reached 650 year-birds yesterday by finding a Red-naped Sapsucker on the Grand Mesa in Colorado. Accompanying John on the trip was Bill Kaempfer, friend and honorary member of “Rock Dove Tours”.  Vanderpoel took some time out from his whirlwind schedule to discuss this achievement. “Not the hardest nor rarest bird in North America, but the 650th year-bird has special meaning because that was my original goal for the year; at least until my eighty-six year old Uncle, Robert Vanderpoel, chided me into raising the goal to at least 700”.  And seven hundred species now appears to be within reach. In fact Vanderpoel’s current total of 650 species positions him ahead of both Bob Ake’s 2010 total of 649 species by the end of June total and Lynn’s total of 605 species.

Red-naped Sapsucker- #650 Year-Bird (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

The Grand Mesa also held special meaning for John.  “This was my first visit to the Grand Mesa.  My Dad always wanted to pull together a Vanderpoel family visit to Grand Mesa, but we weren’t able to pull it off before Dad passed on.” Vanderpoel added. John went on to share that Waid Vanderpoel was instrumental in developing a love for nature and wildlife in all five of his sons, so finding #650 on the Grand Mesa was icing on the cake.

The Red-naped Sapsucker became possible as #650 for the Big Year total after Kaempfer was able to hear a Gray Vireo at Devil’s Kitchen in Colorado National Monument earlier in the morning. The bird was even photographed on the nest.

Gray Vireo on Nest at Devil's Kitchen, CO (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

Vanderpoel, perturbed by recent criticism that his herp list was “a little brief” took time to photograph this Tiger Whiptail.

Tiger Whiptail at Colorado Natiuonal Monument (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

When asked what his upcoming plans are Vanderpoel replied, “The Pawnee Grasslands tomorrow morning and then a red eye to Boston. My lovely wife, Linda, and I will drive to Freeport, Maine where I’ll meet Derrick Lovitch to try for the Bicknell’s Thrush at timberline.  At least one boat trip to Bird Island out of Vinalhaven will follow.”  He then suggested that viewers should stay tuned.

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9 Responses to Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Vanderpoel Reaches 650!

  1. Wes Hatch says:

    Hey John,

    Staten Island is not too far from Boston, you might want to go see the beautiful Hooded Crow that has been putting on a great performance at Great Kills State Park. Saw it myself this past Sunday and it looks to be wild, now this does not mean I know whether it came on a boat. According to the ABA blog I have read this has a chance of being accepted as an ABA first. Good Luck with Maine, just got my 500th life ABA bird out there last week. Keep on trucking!

    Wes Hatch

  2. Deanna Campbell says:

    Congratulations! Good luck out east! Deanna

  3. Gary Matthews says:

    Whoopee! Does that mean it’s off my “To Do Find” for you in RMNP? Rashid and I are going to try for Flams again tonight.

  4. Bill Kaempfer says:

    The pressure was on with this trip–it was the last best shot at two birds, Black Rail and Gray Vireo and additional trys for Chukar and Black Swift would involve long drives for minimal chances at additional species. Plus this was a substitute, last minute trip for John as this past weekend was to have been a visit to North Dakota for tall grass specialities. But the trip paid off–John had 6 targets in ND, and we pulled out five in Colorado. Plus he could add two longspurs (also on the ND list) today.

  5. David White says:

    Congradulations on the monumental number 650!!

  6. Russell Cannings says:

    “Herb” list or herp list!? Glad to hear things are going well–keep on keepin on!

  7. Russell Cannings says:

    And don’t forget about the Lesser Sand Plov in Cali!

  8. John Vanderpoel says:


    I’m considering it. Question for you. How long can i wait on Vaux’s Swift?

  9. Russell Cannings says:

    In my neck of the woods you’ve probably got ’til late August but in Vancouver you’d still have a shot in September. If you want Flam on the nest– I would strongly recommend coming up in the next 2 weeks although they’re around into August.

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