Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A Novice Birder: Four Years of Birding Photos

I wasn't always a birder; before the pandemic, I couldn't identify more than two or three birds. But when we began to isolate at home, I spent more and more time staring out our back window, and before long, our one feeder morphed into a half-dozen feeders and a bird bath.

I'm still not a knowledgable birder. I prefer a camera to binoculars, mainly so I can look up what I'm seeing on iNaturalist when I get home from birding. All the various iterations of the appearances of birds---juvenile, breeding plumage, male and female---it often feels overwhelming to me, and I have no interest in memorizing all the markings. What I like to do is look at birds, watch them, take photos of them. And that's enough for me.

According to iNaturalist, I've made 1,015 bird observations and I've seen 176 species of birds. Here are a few of my favorite bird captures in the course of my birding adventures in the last four years.

The results of my first few months of taking bird photos were blurry and out-of-focus and taken from far away. How iNaturalist knew this was a Snowy Egret amazes me.

It was easier to take photos of birds that came to my feeders, just outside my back window. I grew more confident as I saw that I could eventually get a pretty clear shot of a bird, like this one of a Pine Warbler.

Gradually, I came to know these year-round residents of my yard: Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee.

I began to take my camera along to look for birds at places we hiked, like the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary: Lincoln's Sparrow, Hooded Warbler.

If I watched carefully, I was surprised to see the birds that appeared in my own backyard: Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager.

As the restrictions of the pandemic were lifted, I established a practice of taking a camera everywhere I went. Here are some of my favorite photos.

Great Blue Heron

Belted Kingfisher

Wood Duck

Crested Caracara

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

American Avocets
(Guess which bird I identify with?!)

Whooping Cranes, surprising me by flying over unexpectedly

Red-breasted Merganser

Bald Eagle

White-tailed Kite

Red-bellied Whistling Ducks

Snowy Egret

Forster's Terns

My bird list of birds I have seen or heard.

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