Saturday, March 10, 2012


The Sora.  A rare find.
A little over half a year ago, I thought birding was funny.  Not that it was a joke, but I didn't get it.  Sometimes I would joke that birders were goofy people and sometimes just plain ol' strange.  Well, the tides have turned and it hit me several weeks ago that I had crossed over to the other side.  And I don't know how I feel about it.  It started with my post, The Closeted Birder.
Several of my birding friends reported Cedar Waxwings in the area and I knew I had several days to get my butt over to the springs where they were hanging out.  Agua Caliente park is a large park FULL of palms.  And with palms come the fruit that these birds love.  I walked the entire park searching for them and other birds.  It was a breezy day and I wasn't sure I would find the Great Blue Heron or Cedar Waxwings reported around the waters.
Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
I certainly found a lot of other birds out there, but I needed better guidance and thought that the docent in the gift shop would know more.  If you walk inside the building, there is a birding checklist.  It's actually quite nice and helpful for someone like me who has difficulty at times trying to identify birds. The docent was out.

So I went to the art gallery where there was another person selling beautiful artistic quilts from various artists. I asked if she knew anything about birds and she said that "She knew what most people knew about birds." which answered my question.  So I left and found several birders in the area.  They didn't know so I kept my eyes open until I spotted a birder standing near a group of palms.  More on that tomorrow.  But here's what happened.
Yellow Rumped Warbler
The Cedar Waxwings were near a group of palms along with a bunch of American Robins. We shot a lot of great pictures and had a really nice conversation.  I stayed a bit longer and did some more photography until I got some shots with better lighting.  It's very tricky to get good pictures of birds doing something special in midflight.

But what turned out to be a dull start ended with a bang and I wanted to share my excitement! On the way back to my car, I stopped at the center and let the lady know that I found them.  She was talking to another woman and while they were polite, I could see that they didn't care.  And I get that, but what I didn't expect was the mean laugh that followed after I turned my back and left the room.  "He's one of those nutty birder people."  I have to say that I have a thick skin, but that kind of hurt a bit.  When did it happen?

When did I become one of "them"?  The adrenaline rush from finding anything in the wild is pure magic.  It doesn't matter if it's a deer, wildflower, bird,'s just a wonderful gift.  I let it roll off my shoulders but I'm documenting this to remember that moment so I won't forget.  Maybe I am one of "them" but it sure beats sitting inside a room all day waiting for people to visit when the sun is out and about shining. Kharma.  It was a good lesson for the day.
One other note. "When the people play; birds will stray!"  I have to remember to search for low traffic areas where the majority of people don't congregate.....which would then turn out to be a high traffic area for birds that day.  More tomorrow on my Cedar Waxwing show!
American Robins

Time to fly!


  1. Masz szczęście, a właściwie nie tylko szczęście, bo kto umie patrzeć, ten zobaczy tyle wspaniałych ptaków i pokaże je nam na świetnych zdjęciach.Pozdrawiam. *** You're lucky, and actually not just luck, because who knows how to look, that sees so many wonderful birds and show them to us for great photos. Yours.

  2. Haha, great to hear you "changed sides"..
    Fantastic series! Great pictures!
    Many greetings
    Yvonne & Raphael

  3. Wow, great outing and wonderful bird photos. I probably use to feel the same way but now I am one of those birding nuts, geeks whatever people call us birders. I would love to see the Dora! Thanks for sharing your walk.

  4. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself, Chris so even if you are "a nutty birder" we all love you for it ;) This is, as per usual, a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining post and your pictures are super. My favourite is of the little warbler facing slightly away from the camera. A perfectly posed little fellow! I, too, am one of those oddities who gets very caught up in the moment when viewing the remarkably beautiful world around me. I adore all birds, but I'm not at all knowledgeable about them. I can identify the more common ones and try to commit to memory the different markings of those less common, but I derive most of my enjoyment purely from watching and listening to them. As you so rightly say, they are all gifts. I love your little turtle. Yes, nature certainly is majestic and awe-inspiring and spending time outdoors imbibing it all is far more preferable to huddling indoors, gossiping about nutty birders :)

    I hope you're feeling less anxious about your owl family today?

  5. If "those" people only knew what they were missing out on. They wouldn't be laughing. I'm not a true 'birder' but I enjoy them so much here in my backyard and I adore your photos. Keep 'em coming.

  6. Ha, I was born nutty...nutty about seeing anything in nature too
    WELcome dear brother to the sacred club!
    let it you being a nutty storeclerk
    proud to be a nutty birder
    How do you feel about lizards captured in pet shops in horrible neglected conditions..or worse..turtles...why I could be a regular nut here too....I hate pet shops and circuses

  7. i am laughing that you did cross over rather quickly from those to one of them. :) i've always loved birds for as long as i can remember. drew them as a 4 yr old - in my mind's eye, they looked exactly like real life. of course, the drawings were a typical child's rendering. but i think i've managed to get better at that over the years. :)

  8. I enjoy seeing different birds and watching them interact is a hoot. So many personalities. I'm just not as worried about the identifying or listing part. Enjoying your birding posts!

  9. Wonderful the birds, and the turtle.

  10. Oh, you've gone to the "dark side" have you? So glad, if that's what gets us all these great pictures. I think I have a picture of a Yellow Rumped Warbler too.

  11. Join the club - I don't worry about people who see me as a nutty birder. I just feel sorry for them in not appreciating nature. Pleased you saw all those wonderful species, yellow rumped is a beautiful warbler

  12. I heard a song once that went something like "Everybody loves a nut, but nobody likes a weirdo". So you're safe.

  13. Chris, well, welcoem to the club! I am so glad you joined! Great pics as always and I am so jealous of the tryanulet! I have enver seen one! perhaps you can help me find one next time around!


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