Sunday, May 02, 2010

Old-school birding (kinda) and a lifer!

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:
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Killdeer
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Vesper Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch
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.

2 comments:

Matty Boy said...

What happened to your stuff? If you need binocs, I'd be glad to send you mine.

dguzman said...

I left it in Maryland when AB and I visited some friends, and I'm still waiting for them to mail it all back to me.