Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Have Found my People!!

I went on my first field trip today with the Forbush Bird Club. We arrived at Bolton Flats bright and early and there were already a lot of people eager to start the day. Right the minute we arrived, I knew that I had found my people!!

As most of you know, it's not easy being a birder when the majority of average folks cannot understand what would posses someone to spend hours in front of a pond looking at a duck. Oh sure, ducks are pretty and all, but the average Joe takes a look, admires it's beauty for a second and moves on to their destination. Not a birder of course. The birder's heart skips a beat as they fumble for their binoculars for a closer look. If it's a rare duck, it is even better and out comes the field guide, notebook and maybe a camera for evidence of the find.

Monday morning at the office is the worst. The first thing everyone asks when you arrive there is what did you do this weekend. Most people will talk about Jr's soccer practice, their bargain buys at the mall or a new record in speed walking, not so for the birder. The birder has a smile on their face as they tell everyone they went looking for Woodcocks on Saturday night. The coworkers look at the birder with a look of confusion and slight embarrassment as they have no idea what a Woodcock is. The birder realizes the confusion and tries to explain the bird and how it peents at night to attract female admirers. Halfway through the sentence, the birder sees the co-workers cheeks blush a shade of crimson and they give up and tell them to forget it as they run into their office grateful for solitude.

So, with all of that said, it was nice to meet up with people who like to bird and don't think of you as a freak. The best thing about it was the fact that many of these people have decades of birding behind them and can teach the new birder a lot of new things they would not have learned easily on their own.

Here is a picture of Bolton Flats. What you see here are marshes where quite a few birds were hiding. I saw my first Greater Yellowlegs (Lifer!) as well as my first Kildeer on the ground (Lifer!). Pictures were impossible but I did get a good look at both birds with a scope which was a lot of fun because you can get a really good look at them to appreciate their features.

We continued along a path in search for ducks and came across an area with some Wood Ducks and dozens of Green-Winged Teal. They must of heard us as suddenly the sky was filled with the sound of Canada Geese honking and the ducks flew to the sky peppering the landscape to escape the intrusion.

Canada Geese leading the way.

Unknown ducks head in the opposite direction. Look at how synchronized they are though!

After a while we decided to move onto other locations as many of the places we went to were devoid of birds. Unfortunately, these appeared to be devoid of birds as well. The only ones I could see and hear were Goldfinches and my favorite bird of all, the Black Capped Chickadee.

By the early afternoon the group had split up as some headed home and others went to other places to bird. The birder I drove in with took me to Sterling Peats in Sterling in search for shore birds. Check out the serious scope on the right!

There were no shorebirds to be found, just the regular Canada Geese. Do these birds ever rest??

Our last stop was to Wachusett Reservoir to see if we could see the Bald Eagle's nest.

There, nestled within a huge nest was the female Bald Eagle incubating her eggs. The photo is a little warped because this was the first time I tried to do rough digiscoping by putting my camera up to the scope and getting a photo. You can see its tiny head though in comparison to the large nest.

Last but certainly not least is the Common Loon. Looking at this gorgeous creature dive for fish reminds you that there is nothing common about a bird as handsome as this one. While this is not a life bird for me, I never put it on my bird list until now. I faintly remember this bird when I was a small child visiting my grandmother's cottage on a lake in New Hampshire. Every morning we would run out to play and swim and I could hear them on the lake and my grandmother would loudly exclaim here come the loons again! I asked my cousin why they were called loons and she told me in an authoritative manner that it was because they were loony whenever they entered the lake. I would sit there for many long periods of a time watching them land in search of lunacy. The funny thing was I never saw it, all I saw was beauty. Perhaps I was a birder even back then but it took me 30 years to recognize it.

It was a great experience and one I can't wait for again. There are a lot of trips planned in the upcoming weeks and I am hoping to make some of them. These trips are open to the public and if you are from around the Central Mass area, I encourage you to join in on the fun. You will meet a lot of nice people and see a lot of new birds!!


Chris said...

Excellent. I guess this was a big new experience for you. I'm so happy you managed to do that!!! Congrats!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Kim, I'm so happy for you. This is exactly what you have been waiting for. I hope you will be able to go on MANY trips with them in the future.

I saw my first Mourning Dove ON my deck today. He has never come that close to the house before. I didn't get a picture--but I hope he comes back.

Have a great evening.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great opportunity to enjoy birding with a group of nice people that you can learn and share with. These photos are grand and I am so happy you have more trips planned in the near future. Can't wait to see what other pics you can capture. Hope you have a good week.

Tina said...

I am so glad you got to go out with some birders that you feel were more experienced that you..what a difference to hang with such knowing people. Wow! You sure put in a long day but you saw soooo much! An eagle's nest, you lucky girl!! That must have been a real thrill!
Congrats! Hope you are able to get away again with "your people"

Elaine Dale said...

Sound like they are your peeps! I'm glad you saw a loon, they're a favorite of mine. My parents cottage is "The Loon" - I always see a few when I'm there.

Shellmo said...

I love your new blog name!! Perfect! And glad you found your "people"!! LOL!! And I am so JEALOUS you saw my Loons - wonderful!! Please tell them I'm waiting for them.....

dAwN said...

How cool is this..You have found a birdie group and are seeing lifers..
I am so happy for you!
I always love to go out with birdie people...learn something new each time.

Ratty said...

Wonderful post! I'm glad you found some like minded people. I've been saying the same thing, that most people just don't understand a nature lover. Try to explain and you just get a blank stair.

I've been watching Canada Geese very closely. They may be ordinary and common, but I love their personality.

Heather said...

I'm glad you found your people. I feel very lucky to work with some nature lovers who actually DO understand what I'm talking about when I say I went on a Woodcock walk. There's a new lady who started a few weeks ago who is quite the birding enthusiast, so she and I formed an instant bond! I'm sure you will have great fun with your new birding friends, and will learn lots, too. By the way, the Loon photos were gorgeous (I immediately thought of Shelley!), and the scenery looked pretty nice, too! And I like the new name of your blog!

Susan Gets Native said...

Isn't it GRAND? To find Your People?
That's why I migrate with all my bloggy peeps. They get it, too.

"Tiny" bald eagle head? You kill me.

Amy said...

Oh man, I totally know what you mean about Monday mornings. At my old job no colleagues were birders. There wasn't even anyone interested in nature or spending time outside. *sigh*

It sounds like you had an awesome day out with other birders - that's great! I love your insight about the loons - I bet you were a birder all this time indeed. Are those loon shots also digiscoped, or could you see them so close? Great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, I have been following
your blog for a while now, and
have enjoyed watching you "grow"
in the birding world. I'm glad
you are birding with experienced
birders now; your bird lifelist
will surely grow rapidly. I bet
if you take another look at the
three unknown ducks, observe
the chestnut colored chest, the
white neck ring, and the green
head, you will realize you can
id them after all. When you do,
go back to your Mar. 29 blog--
Sunday Was Duck Weather-- and
you will see how easy it was
after all. Keep up the good
work and watch your list grow!
Hap in New Hope (MN)

Little Brown Job said...

Great to hear you've getting out with a group, it's the quickest way to learn. Just wish I had the time to commit to a local group myself.

ShySongbird said...

Well done Kallen, an exciting day out for you.

Kallen305 said...

Thanks everyone. Yes it was nice to meet up with fellow birders. Between my blogging friends and the ones I have arouhd my area, I should be all set this spring.

Shelley, I will tell the loons to head your way, I know how much you love them.

Anonomys, they are Mallards? HA, I kind of thought that but wasn't sure because there were three of them and I have only seen Mallards in pairs of twos lately. Thanks for the info!

Jayne said...

What a fun day you had! So cool to meet and walk with people who are very experienced and can see and hear things we can't just yet. :c)

Mary said... wonderful to find a group like that who shares your interest and knows where the birds are! Great photos and I feel your excitement! That loon is anything but "common" in my opinion...would love to see one! Laughed at your description of being a birder...yep! I've quit trying to talk about birds unless someone asks...which they don't.

Richard said...

Kim...Looks like you had a great day birding with new friends. Good for you.

Just an FYI...If you ever need help with an ID, the person to go to is "Hap from New Hope". He has helped most of us.

Kallen305 said...

Thanks Richard!! I didn't noice that Hap had identified himself in the ananomys post until I came into work this morning. See what posting first thing in the morning w/ no coffee can do to you! ;o)

Welcome Hap and thanks again for the ID.

madcobug said...

Sounds like you had a great time. All you pictures are beautiful. The sky is so pretty. Helen

Anonymous said...

You really did get some nice pictures. I admire those who go out on the road to find birds. I am no longer able to do that. If they don't come here I don't get to see them. LOL

NCmountainwoman said...

So glad you had a good time, and a productive outing. Wonderful that you have found your people.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Kim. Tell me I was not wrong - I knew this would happen. What a great experience to meet & enjoy the company of likeminded souls AND more new sightings. The road you travel will have many branches and all have something to offer. Lol FAB

Kelly said...

Wonderful much to see! Love the eagle's nest too. I'm going to try to make it on my first bird field trip with the Cincinnati Bird Club in a few weeks. I can't wait!

RuthieJ said...

Good for you Kim! I'm glad you got to go out birding with some like-minded folks.
I'm always amazed when I hear the statistics about how many "birders" there are supposed to be in the US, and yet I still seem to be the only one at my workplace! I've gotten that weird stare and reaction from people before too. I guess they just don't understand what's really important in this world!! ;-)


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