Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Birding Presents!

I can hardly believe it's been a month since my last post. Actually I can believe it- December was a ridiculously busy month for me with work and Christmas parties on weekends etc.

This was the year of birding/Hawaii presents. My boyfriend gave me everything I need to get started in amateur birding and I was completely surprised when I started opening my gifts. My parents gave us a really nice two-person tent to use during our trip to Hawaii in March. I started looking into it and learned that there are plenty of state forests and other types of parks to camp on the Big Island so I'm really excited about that.

Now to the important part- my birding presents from my boyfriend :)

Present #1: Canon PowerShot S2 IS

I couldn't believe he got me a camera! I had an HP digital camera that he accidentally broke and he felt guilty about it ever since. That happened in July and I finally got another digital camera in October for our trip to Pennsylvania. It was another HP and I picked one of the cheapest models since funds were low at the time and I just needed a quick fix.

He knew that the zoom was less than impressive and he said he did a lot of research and found that this was a great choice for birding.

I haven't had a chance to use it yet since I still have a lot of reading to do in the manual, but hopefully after New Year's when things slow down I'll get outdoors and put it to use.

Present #2: The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

I was thrilled to get my first Sibley Guide. This book is amazing! It has multiple pictures of each species, including pictures of the birds in flight and juveniles/adults. It's going to play a very important role in my learning about birds. Already we used it during out trip to Martha's Vineyard last week. We saw what we believed were Common Redpolls in the beach rose bushes by the water, although we could be wrong of course. I just checked some pictures using Google Image Search and I don't remember their heads being so red. As always, suggestions are welcome.

Present #3: National Geographic Birder's Journal

This is going to be great motivation for keeping up with birding. Across from each page of identifications it has a page to record date and location of sightings. It even has an accidentals and extinct species section. It's very cool.

Present #4: Hawaii's Birds from the Hawaii Audubon Society

I can't wait for our trip in March and I'm excited to learn about the birds before we arrive.

Present #5: Columbia Sportswear Binoculars Set
Find it on Google Base

All in all it was a great Christmas and I can't wait to put these presents to use. Starting next week I should be back out in the field and will have pictures from my new camera to share!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Birdwatching at the Charles River

Work has finally slowed down enough for me to take my walk at lunch again. Today was a little overcast, and much cooler than it has been, but it was good to get some fresh air.

I walk along the Charles River and have a 45-minute loop that I do. Now that I'm actively looking for birds, I've learned where to spot certain ones. The path at the beginning of my walk cuts down close to the river and I've decided that's my best bet for seeing interesting birds. It's overgrown and there are plenty of places for them to hide. On the first part of my walk I saw several titmice, a flicker, chickadees and house sparrows. Later in the walk I saw what I believe was a pair of warblers. I've seen this bird before on my walks along the river, and it's the first that I've tried identifying. This was the best picture I could get today, and although it's hard to tell, it has yellow markings on the crown and black and white feathers on the wings. I'll do a little more research to try and figure out exactly what kind it is, but I'm welcome to suggestions too.

I have an excellent little bird guide from 1909, written by Charles Reed of Worcester, MA. The title is Land Birds Bird Guide Song and Insectivorous Birds East of the Rockies. There are pages and pages of warblers in there and I think that's my best bet.

Thanksgiving Birdwatching

I had planned on doing some research and birdwatching over Thanksgiving, but unfortunately I was sick with a migraine for the two days I was home.

Luckily I was able to do some birdwatching over the weekend during a hike at Blue Hills ( My boyfriend and I go for hikes there as often as we can and this time I was particularly attentitive to the birds around us. It was a little too late in the day to see anything too interesting I'm afraid, but I was just happy to be out there.

I didn't get any decent pictures since I'm still learning the art of capturing birds, plus we were moving and there wasn't time to stop and watch. I saw lots of chickadees, nuthatches and a downy woodpecker again.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Visit to the Cape

Here are some pictures from my visit today to my parents house. They live on upper Cape Cod and their yard borders several acres of state forest. They always have a steady stream of birds visiting the bird feeders in the front and back yards.
Today was mostly a practice day, learning how to take pictures with my camera. I don't have the greatest camera, but it's good enough for right now. I was pretty excited about the chickadee I was able to capture in flight.
With the holiday coming up this week I'll have much more time to spend watching for birds both here in Boston and on the Cape.
I'll also spend some time researching birding and learning what I need to get started in this hobby.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

First Post!

Welcome to my birdwatching blog. I decided to start this blog to learn the fundamentals of birding and to document my sightings along the way. A major motivation for starting this blog is my upcoming trip to Hawaii (Big Island) in March. I'd like to be able to identify some of the birds I see while there.

Living in a suburb of Boston, I don't see the most exotic birds in my yard, but I hike regularly, go for walks on the Charles River and visit various conservation lands in the area.

As a child I was always hearing my grandparents talk about interesting birds that came to their yard, and I learned to identifiy common birds from them and my mother. It's their interest in birding that has stayed with me all these years and has made me always aware of the birds around me.

My vision for this blog is to share my experiences and knowledge as I learn about birding and put the practices into effect.