Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Interest: Birding

I discovered birding later in life. I'm not one of those guys who was introduced to it as a kid by an older relative, but I have always loved being out in nature. I picked up a beginner's field guide a couple years ago, and last year I started casually identifying some of the birds in my own backyard. I really don't know what happened this year, but something just clicked. I think I was partly influenced by an acquaintance who was telling me about birding. He told me he had seen a lot of the birds in Alaska and I asked him to bring in his guide book and check list. He dropped off a Nat Geo book and a Sibley's Guide, including his extensive checklist in the back of the former. I had no sooner ordered my own Sibley's, when I found the Sibley app for my iPhone. From there, I started reading about the birds and entering previous species from my beginner's guide into the app. I bought some backyard bird feeders and was impressed by how many Black Capped Chickadees and Common Redpolls showed up. It was February, so my hikes out into the woods only revealed more chickadees and some woodpeckers. This got a little frustrating, but patiently I waited for spring. I've been rewarded with ever increasing abundance of birds. I have yet to see if this will become a life-long passion or just a passing phase. I have a lot of interests. Some I burn through pretty quick, others hang around for a long time. Welcome to my birding blog in Alaska.
This was one of the first Black-capped Chickadees to visit my new feeder. 
I found this little Chickadee singing out in the Palmer Hay Flats on a cold winter day. 

These Black-Capped Chickadees don't mind the cold, and always seem cheerful. 

Chickadee takes flight.
Mallard Female in the Snow
One of the numerous bald eagles you can find around the Valley.
My first Common Mergansers, male and female. Spenard Crossing, Anchorage.

We took a drive down Turnagain Arm, south of Anchorage, and saw one of the first Golden Eagle migrants. This one happened to land near this Dall Sheep Ewe

Sheep and Golden Eagle. This is at 600mm equivalent with a Lumix 100-300 telephoto.

Black-billed Magpie

Mallard Drake

Drake at Spenard Crossing, Anchorage

1 comment:

  1. Your 'Golden Eagle' with the sheep is in fact an immature Bald Eagle. I also agree with the Yellowlegs and Dowitcher ID by others on your other post. Keep up the interest in your new hobby!