Beautiful weather = Birding. Monday was sunny and the temperatures were over 40 F, so naturally I spend a good portion of the day outside looking for birds. We went to one of our ol' standby local parks and walked the trail.
In an effort to lighten my load, I only took my camera. For the past few months, birding from the car has spoiled me. I've become used to taking my binoculars, scope, field guide, and DSLR. Several months ago I read a post from some unknown birder that suggested more birders should head out in the field with nothing but a pencil & paper. The idea was that many birders become too dependent on high powered optics and spend so much time with their eyes peering through binoculars that they overlook important details about environment. The poster also went on to claim that many birder's egos are wrapped up in the power and quaility of their optics. Here is where I stopped reading....I didn't feel like reading a rant. However, I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of leaving the binoculars at home. Binoculars are a great aid and without them I would have missed many a bird, but some of my favorite moments have occured while viewing birds with my naked eyes. There's so much more to birding than just getting a good 'view' of the bird, which is what the optics provide. Without my binoculars I had to rely on so much more than sight. I found myself picking out birds more by sound. Although I haven't spent much time lately on working on my bird song identification skills, I found I was able ID birds and localize where to start searching for specific birds fairly well. It was more challenging than just seeing a bird shape and bringing up my binoculars for the id, but I loved it. Sure, I may have missed a Lifer, but I enjoyed the birds I saw so much that I don't feel like I missed anything. It reminded me that before I had my binoculars or scope, I was just happy to get a glimpse of some of the birds.
I've never had trouble finding something to do...Cycling,tennis, creating something out of stained glass are a few things I enjoy. Recently I've added birding to the list and suspect it will become a lifelong hobby.