I have a new passion: bird spotting.
Okay, so it’s not exactly new, nor is it the kind of passion that has me twitching in a hide in the middle of a field every weekend, so let’s call it a rekindled interest instead.
When I was young, I knew the names of hundreds of birds. Since then, I’ve moved to another continent with new birds and I’ve forgotten so much of what I once knew. But on a recent trip to the coast, after squinting at a flock of birds nesting on a cliff face and having no clue what they were, I invested in a pair of binoculars and a copy of Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.
In all honesty, I stink at bird identification, and I’m stumped by more birds that I identify, but I’ve added several species to my scorecard, from the tiny Oak Titmouse that visits the “Bird Café” outside my office window, to the magnificent Bald Eagle that circled above me in the San Juan Islands. I even managed to identify a Western Screech-Owl after an in-depth search for recordings of its call. But most of all, I’m having fun rekindling an old hobby and learning something new.
So here’s my challenge to you on this fabulous (pre-holiday weekend) Friday: What can you learn about next week? Maybe it’s an old passion you can rekindle or a new pleasure you’d like to investigate. Find something new to learn and report back on what you’ve learned, even if it’s just a bit of trivia on your topic.
For now, I’ll leave with a very poor quality iPhone photo of a pair of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) that I spotted on the creek in my neighborhood. Happy holiday weekend to those of you stateside, and have fun learning something new!
P.S. Thanks to Kathleen for her suggestion for this post and for her excitement over my very common Common Merganser.