Birding - The Time is Now!
When God was designing a warbler, He tried a lot of different color schemes, and apparently had trouble choosing one. So Him being God, he used them all!
Consider the Wilson’s Warbler: bright yellow face and belly, greenish top, black cap and eye. Or the Northern Parula: blue head and wings with striking white wing bars, yellow throat, black and rusty chest bands. Wow!
Last Saturday Linda, our friend and neighbor Dona Seegers, and I participated in a Maine Audubon birding adventure to Monhegan Island. We were blessed with the best weather of the spring and an amazing array of birds. We had trouble focusing on them though, with the stunning ocean scenery all around us. I got a sunburn!
Audubon’s executive director Ted Koffman joined us, and Audubon new guide, Mike Windsor, led the trip. A good group joined us (the trip was sold out), many of whom we met on last year’s Audubon trip to Monhegan.
Because some birders go by the numbers, I will tell you that Linda, Dona, and I saw 53 species of birds, including 14 warblers. We didn’t count birds that others saw unless we saw them too, so the total trip count was higher.
And for me, as it always is, the Blackburnian Warbler was my favorite: a brilliant orange throat, black triangle on the face, bright white wing patch, black on top – absolutely stunning.
We rode out to and back from Monhegan on the mail boat from Port Clyde, spent the weekend at Rockland’s elegant Berry Manor Inn, enjoyed wonderful dinners at Shepherd’s Pie in Rockport and In Good Company in Rockland, and enjoyed a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend.
Birders have the most fun!
And while Audubon and others including local land trusts offer great birding trips – a good way for you to get started on this wonderful lifelong outdoor activity – you can also get started right in your own yard. All you need are four things: binoculars, a bird book, time, and curiosity.
After arriving home about 1 pm on Sunday, Lin and I worked for a couple of hours in the garden and then took 20 minutes off to check out the birds in our yard. Along the stream we saw an Osprey fly by carrying a fish, many other birds from Phoebes to Cardinals, and the following Warblers: Wilson’s, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Black and White, Yellow-rump, Common Yellowthroat, and Red Start.
I can only warn you of this: once you see any one of these colorful little birds in your binoculars, you’ll be hooked on birding for life!