Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reflections of a Recreational Birder

In my profile I note that I am not a "power birder." I make no pretenses to be other than a recreational, even an "armchair" birder. And my past week's field trip certainly illustrates that critical distinction. Well, for starters, after compiling my notes, I see that I encountered "only" 44 positively identified species across the seven sites I chose to visit (see map.) I imagine a power bird guy would have found 100 or more. But then again, I chose not to bird from predawn to midnight; I chose to shut down when the overheated and weary body said "boo,"and I meandered on trails rather than rapidly cover territory. And I recognize that I picked a week based on absence of commitments. And I did it for four days only. But you know what? I enjoyed the experience: it wasn't work, or competition. My bird observations weren't of the check-it-off-and-move-on-to-the-next variety. On my last day I spent time really looking at a Northern Parula, one that I'd seen multiple times every day. I watched a common backyard Downy Woodpecker preparing a nest hole. I communed with a seemingly-social Ovenbird. I savored the weirdness of seeing a Snowbird (Junco) on a beastly hot day. And more. I learned more about birds I thought I new as well as about those I knew little about. That's my kind of birding.

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