Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birding and Diaper Changing

I recently pushed the challenge of birding to new heights. No kidding. If any of you thought that the big year of Ken Kaufman or Sandy Komito were la creme de la creme in term of birding challenge, you guys got it wrong. Completely wrong.

I recently pushed the limits of birding far enough to make the rediscovery of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the buggy swamps of Alabama look like a pleasant boys scout scavenger hunt. Yep

What is this new challenge I am talking about?

I am talking about "BIRDING and DIAPER CHANGING"

(admiration from the crowd)

This is not an easy task, believe me. This new extreme sport involves many challenges, including dealing with sleep deprivation, extremely limited free time and restricted finances.
To deal with all of this, I decided to use several tactics, and for the most part, I think they have been proven to be quite successfull

1) Prioritize your goals.
Ok, at my level, you can not really prioritize your goals, because one goal is plenty enough. I just don't have time for any secondary goal. In my case, I choose to focus on my county list. Note that I did not have a lot of choices here, because the country or even the state are simply too big. County is great because you can go to any point in about 30 mn or so.

For example, I had a one hour window last sunday, so I went directly to the place where a pair of Orchard Oriole was seen. I ticked the bird, took a picture and came back

Male Orchard Oriole, in terrible mid afternoon light (as Jochen told me once, any birding is better than no birding!)

2) Learn the bird songs

It is simply more efficient. You can not change a diaper and look though binoculars at the same time, but you can listen. I happen to have a long commute to my job every day, so I am trying to listen to bird songs all the time. This was happened to be handy last month then, a few days before the birth, as we were watching the final of the french open, I heard a funny sounding bird in my backyard. I did not know the song, but I knew it was something special. So I went outside and quickly spotted a connecticut warbler!!! That was a lifer for Diane and I and obviously, a great backyard bird!!!!!

3) Take advantage of opportunities

Lunch breaks in a place as sterile and unbirdy as Dowtown lansing are not supposed to be great birding times, but sometimes, opportunities occur. Yesterday I spotted 2 juvenile red tailed hawk next to the capitole, and I was able to have great views and picture opportunities. Last winter, I also had some white winged crossbills!!!!!


Jochen said...

Laurent, excellent post!!!!!!

By the way: do you know the blog "The Drinking Bird"? (see link on Belltower Birding). Nathan also has a baby son and his posts sound a lot, lot, lot like yours!!

You two might want to start exchanging strategies!!

And I think you should really try to find out how many birders in all of North America have a Connecticut Warbler on their yart list.

Jochen said...

And also:
Nice photos!

Laurent said...

thanks Jochen. I'll check out this blog, for sure!!

Patrick Belardo said...

Laurent, I too will be in this situation come the end of Sept. I've already come to terms that I'll be a county birder. My county is pretty big unfortunately.

Jochen said...

Aaaah, it is so good to bring like-minded friends together.
May you profit eternally from exchanging comments!

Nate said...

I've found eBird to be a pretty useful resource when looking for a little variety. At least in my area, I've been able to find a couple new places that I can visit that aren't too far away that I can take my kid. And it also has the benefit of filling up the list with your birds.

Laurent said...

Good to see other people like me!

Nate : I am a fervent user of ebird. There is only a handfull of ebirders in my county, but I hope it is going to pick up eventually!

Patrick : good luck for the fall migration season!!!! Good to have you here

Jochen said...

"Good to see other people like me!"

Welcome to blogging, my friend, welcome!

Mel said...

Not a mom yet... I don't know if I should be scared or excited! hahaha

Great post!

Steven said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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