Sunday, December 21, 2008

To Be a Newbie...

Yesterday the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count, helped by some of the Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists. We divided our circle into 3 teams. My team had the Lake Wichita area. In addition to me, I had two new birders from the Texas Master Naturalists and one experienced but recently relocated birder.

I always enjoy birding with new people. When a person has been birding for a while, we sometimes don't pay as much attention to the common birds. But for a new birder, almost every bird is a lifer, which makes the bird exciting for them. Since they are also trying to learn field identification, you also have to think about what characteristics made you decide the bird you see a half mile away is a double-crested cormorant.

With a newly relocated birder, the joy is sharing the best birding spots. The Chat Trail...the tank...the spillway--these are all places local birders talk about, but when you are new to the area, you just don't know where to go. "What a neat place! I had no idea this was here!"

We walked a section of the City trail system and talked about future expansion plans (we can't wait!)

And we saw some birds--but that is for the next post. For the new birders in my group, the belted kingfisher was the favorite. We had one who posed for some time in between flights up and down the drainage ditch. The light was perfect for a good look and he called with each pass by, so they had a good chance to listen to his call. Another highlight was the flight of the white pelicans. We didn't get as close a look on those, but we had several sightings. They made it easy to count by flying in a long line past us. The masses of ring-billed gulls and double-crested cormorants right after sunrise were also impressive.

All in all a super day.

Good birding!

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