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!!!!!