Today Was...

  • Long. I was eating breakfast at 4:30am, and my field trip did not return to the hotel until 4:00pm. Now I need to shower and go have dinner.
  • Claustrophobic. There were 13 of us in a single passenger van. Cozy.
  • Overwhelming. When you bird with a group, the group is essentially a multiple-eyed monster. Someone is always looking somewhere, and when they see a bird, they generally announce what they see (or think they see) and maybe, if you are lucky, they will also announce directions to help others find the bird (as opposed to just generally looking in the same direction as the person who made the announcement). If you are really lucky, the directions will be good. The group I was in today saw 110 different species of bird. There was no way I could see every bird. There were just too many to see, or we were in the van and I could not see out the side of the van in the direction of the bird, or I was still lingering on some other bird, or whatever. Photography was even harder.
  • Annoying. I lost my pencil halfway through the trip. For those who know how I bird watch, you will immediately understand. I like to write down the species of the birds that I am seeing as I see them. I might save up a few in my memory banks, but I know that to be a sure way to forget a bird, or to encourage me to second guess myself later. So I write them down on a little slip of paper. When I lost my pencil, I realized I had no backup. I even tried to type them into my Blackberry, but its battery was drained because we were running around where there was no signal. I had to borrow a pencil a couple times, but because I did not want to annoy others, I only did that when I was desperate.
  • Windy. The wind was blowing so hard at times that I could not hold my binoculars or camera steady enough to be useful. This wind is in advance of a cold front that, I think, will be rolling through tomorrow.
  • Fulfilling. I saw a ton of birds today. Most were birds that I had seen before somewhere, but there were definitely several "lifers". White-tailed Kite, Glaucous Gull, Pectoral Sandpiper, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Neotropic Cormorant were all "lifers" that I saw today. I probably saw a few more than that, but I will not know for sure until I get back home and enter my sightings into the software I use.
  • Humbling. We birded areas of Louisiana, particularly near the town of Cameron, that were leveled by Hurricane Rita. You can still see lots of evidence of the destruction.

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