Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Watch For Birds

I've been an amateur bird-watcher probably since high school.  I lived in Florida then, spending hours following sea birds at Clearwater Beach on the Gulf coast.  While attending college in Tennessee in the 1970's  I never got past my confusion with confusing spring and fall warblers but I had a great time trying.  Not one to keep a life list, or hunt down elusive specimens, I carry binoculars and a camera pretty much everywhere I go, forever on the lookout for whatever might be perched nearby or flying past.  I have learned enough over the years to accomplish at least a cursory identification on the fly.  I never bought the recordings and so don't know bird songs at all (well, maybe chickadees and mourning doves but not much else).  My well-thumbed Sibley's Guide to Birds has the occasional note where I jot down the date and place of an unusual siting.

The second app I will acquire whenever I finally get a smart phone will be bird identification from Audubon or Nat Geo.  You can probably guess what my first app will be.

I photographed these first three birds at the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum in October 2009.
Cactus Wren

Gilded Flicker in a saguaro
 In August 2009 I spent a couple days on Lake Powell with a friend; a new friend kept us company for a bit as it fished for breakfast.
Great Blue Heron
During a blizzard last winter I watched for nearly two hours as this flicker hung on to the leeward side of a utility pole until the storm abated.
Northern Flicker

During summer 2009 I worked as a park ranger at Cedar Breaks National Monument and was able to take my camera everywhere I went.
Pine Siskin
 I was fortunate to be able to watch the Swainson's Hawks all summer.
Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk over Cedar Breaks National Monument

1 comment:

  1. You got some great captures while watching the birds. I carry my camera everywhere and still rarely get birds on the wing. Yet I really enjoy watching the feeders outside my window. If I look up a bird to ID 3 times, I usually remember it. And of course as a Ranger, we must know the most commonly seen, so I add a few each year.