What is it like birding with a seasoned group of birdwatchers? I feel a bit like a fish out of water.
The day starts out early at 6:30am with a drive past Niagara Falls factories on my travels to Buffalo.
The beginning of our hike is joined by a few cloven friends.
This is some of the BOS members below.
Not everything we see is a bird.
The old Buffalo grain elevators are seen along the trail.
Some birds are just barely seen without binoculars, like this Black-throated Green Warbler.
Some birds are just too far away like this kingfisher.
It is actually hard to find birds in the cover of high trees, but the group hits on an area flush with birds flying from tree to tree.
Out comes the binoculars to see these are not your everyday backyard birds. Sure there are Chickadees in the mixed flock, and their call is what alerts birdwatchers to more species of birds that can be found.
I watch the group as they hunt out birds to spot. One of them finds an interesting bird and in unison, all the binoculars are trained on the subject. It is a little funny as they all huddle in a group and binoculars sway back and forth following a bird. I am not quick enough yet to locate most birds. It takes practice and patience.
They group together so as to not scare away the birds. I was told not go ahead of the group. So being a “photographer” I started back-tracking the path to see what I could find.
I found more birds by quietly waiting, rather than moving constantly. In fact, the birdwatchers go to an area and stay quiet for quite a while. They scan the area and wait. So I did what I saw them do.
Another thing they do is help those that have not found the bird in question. They instruct by saying, “See that fallen tree on a 45° angle? Well go up from there to the left, just below that large leafy branch.”
You would think this ambiguous direction is not helpful, yet it is. They told me how to see this hawk so far in the distance. I was instructed to locate it with my binoculars first. When I did, only then could I use the camera to find it.
Lucky for me, the young Red-tailed Hawk was eating his dinner and very content to stay put. The little birds never sit for long it seems. By the time I see them in the binoculars, they are gone. It is a challenge if one wants to take photos.
Of course, I had no problem capturing insects, even literally, or other larger critters.
When out on my own photographing birds, I kinda take what I get. Going with them opens up to such variety and the cool thing is, they have a plan to find certain birds and they always do.