Little did I know when I started my birding journey, that I would ultimately improve my multi-tasking skills.
Loaded with all the equipment that I thought necessary in the beginning, I felt very much like a pack mule. Once we were actually at a spot where we might look for birds, it became a real juggling act to use the binoculars correctly, find the bird, take note of any distinguishing characteristics such as beak size/color, feet, wing markings, overall bird color, chest color, facial markings/bands. Once in my binoculars, I then tried to get the found bird in my camera lens so I could record the find and use my photo to aid me in identification once I was in the cozy confines of my own home or hotel room. And all of the above has to be accomplished very quickly before the bird decides to fly away. That “flying quickly away thing” made me focus on shorebirds in my first year of birding because they tend to stand around and give me time to examine them thoroughly.
In the beginning it was very overwhelming and I found it difficult to remember all the different birds we were seeing. My birding buddy Linda and I had already started keeping a written birding journal so we decided to pick one of our favorite birds from each day’s sighting to draw and paint in our birding journals. I quickly discovered that if I drew and painted the bird de jour then I was more likely to be able to identify it the next time our paths crossed.
My original journal was a gift from BFF Linda, The papers within it were not special art paper or watercolor paper, but this journal is my favorite one. After the bird drawings were watercolored and the paper dried again, it became crinkly. My love of birds is right up there with my love of books. And that love is defined by the texture of the papers, the sound of them, the book jacket graphics and the boards and end papers. True bibliophile I am.
And a crazy thing happened along my birding journey…I found my art skills improving. What joy to discover that two loves can be combined with each enhancing the other. So every birding adventure for me now entails even more paraphernalia…the drawing pencils and watercolors that can capture my bird of the day for eternity in my birding journals.
Happy Bird searching!!