I am still without camera and binoculars, so I went birding old-school style today, using mostly my plain old eyes and ears as well as my spotting scope. I've determined it's tough to bird with just a spotting scope unless you're looking at water birds.
I'd been seeing local listserv reports of Vesper Sparrows out in the fields and farms south of State College, so I drove out there despite an on-and-off drizzle. A Vesper Sparrow would be a lifer for me, so I was really anxious to see one. There were also reports of American Pipits, but as I rolled along Nixon Road I heard only Northern Cardinals, American Crows, Bluejays, Killdeers, and... wait -- yes, indeed! I heard that crazy "two slurs, then a warble" (as described on the Stokes CDs)! I knew I was in the right place!
It took a while, but I was finally able to find one in the scope. This guy came right up to me, giving me gorgeous views; they're really beautiful little birds. Here's an online image I found at a beautiful site by South Dakota photographer Terry Sohl:That's lifer #265!
Here's a list of birds I saw:
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)
It was frustrating trying to find birds without binocs; one of my good birding friends Hillel went without binoculars for a long time, and I really don't know how he did it! Like I said, when you're checking out shorebirds or marsh birds, who stay relatively still for long periods, it's great having the scope to really zoom in. But try finding a warbler or a sparrow in a tree with a big old scope? Boy howdy, it's tough. Maybe with practice it gets easier. But I miss my Leupolds! And if I'd had my camera, I'd have gotten a great photo of that little Vesper Sparrow, posing for me and singing his little song.