Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring is here, time to cross something new off my list.

Hi friends. Today is a sunny, blue-skied day, and even though it's only about 40 degrees (4.5 C) outside, it feels warmer and the air finally feels like spring. The high temperatures for the coming 10 days hover around 50 degrees, which is a welcome reprieve from the blustery cold winter months! I was sitting on the front porch at work today enjoying the warm sunshine and watching the birds hop around on the front lawn, when I resolved to clear another item off my list: pick up birdwatching again.

Birdwatching is sort of a family hobby. For my brother I think it could truly be called a hobby; for my dad, I think it might be more appropriate to call it an "epic quest." He's been interviewed for magazines (Forbes, for one), written books, published articles, and traveled to all seven continents (yes folks, that includes Antarctica, in a truly harrowing tale that involves lots of seasickness and massive head injuries) in the name of ornithology...the study of birds. But it's still a hobby. He's a banker. I am sort of surprised and kind of impressed to see that the Cape Romain Bird Conservatory describes my dad as "one of the 'founding fathers' of North American birding." Wonders never cease.

So, as you can imagine, I sort of feel like I should carry the torch. It's an interesting, unique hobby that involves travel and time in nature. I began my own birdwatching career around the age of 7 or 8, and my very first bird was the American Kestrel, which is a small bird of prey (shown above). I had a few very fortunate sightings shortly thereafter, including a snowy owl sitting on a fencepost along a major highway, so maybe it's my destiny to be a birdwatcher. My brother suggested that I devote one afternoon a month at first, possibly trekking down to Frick Park and maybe expanding my radius as I get better at it. I like the idea, and now I have my handy iPhone to help me out. There's an application for the iPhone called iBird Explorer Plus that is a full field guide to North American birds, with Audobon illustrations, photos, range maps, loads of information, and - get this - bird calls. Totally rad. I'm considering buying it, especially after reading the loads of great reviews (one person says, "Some people might say that if you have an iPhone, you have a good reason to get iBird Explorer. I might say that iBird is a good reason to get an iPhone." Talk about a glowing review. Jeez.)

So, here I go, birdwatching! Wish me luck!

PS - I've been really sick (tummy troubles...ughhh) but I am better now. That being said, I've had to take a break from my jogging. BUT I'm still committed, and I plan to take it back up again ASAP!

1 comment:

relliMttaM said...

Wow, I didn't picture Chuck Trump being a big birdwatcher, but that's awesome! I remember watching the robins in our yard a lot when I was about 8-9 years old. I'd usually stand near one of the tall windows in our old living room and watch a few of them. Sometimes I'd go outside.