Thanks to the wonderful Ebird I can track my bird watching progress with obsessive accuracy- I am currently ranked 70th in Brooklyn for species spotted this year and I’ve see about 30% of the species that are available to see. That’s exciting. But even more exciting is that many of the birds I’ve seen in the past two weeks are birds I did not previously know existed. In a very short period, my way of looking at the world has shifted so I now see what was previously invisible. It’s like a superpower! BirdVision! And it includes all the minute changes of the season’s cycle- blossoming trees attract birds so the tiny changes in vegetation each day are important and duly noted.
Suddenly, yesterday, the swallows were out on the Lake and they zipped back and forth catching flying insects in the chill morning. Barn and Tree, I think, although there are other swallows, apparently, that I can learn to see.
It’s raining today but I’ll get on my bike and look around. Hope your spring is bringing many new discoveries.
Two great blue herons and this great egret were hanging out in the lake. My viewing spot was suggested as one of the best for early morning viewing in the Brooklyn Bird Club newsletter for April. It feels a bit exposed to me, with many dogs, bikes, metal detectorists and others close by, but since that didn’t bother the birds, I’ll get over it.
I can think of no greater intellectual pleasure than a new inexhaustibly complex hobby- the challenge of learning new vocab, training eyes and ears, new tools, so many specialist books and websites to study. Over a few years the knowledge set and way of looking becomes a part of me, changing fundamentally the way I live in the world.
My last long term research project was money/investing. I’m glad I conducted it, but nature is way more interesting and conveniently infinite. I was excited this morning making my lists of new to me birds (pied bill grebe! I did not know that was a thing) and then I had a moment where I was worrying about running out of new birds and not feeling this thrill. But then I remembered all the other things I don’t know basically anything about: trees, weeds, mushrooms, insects, frogs, rocks, etc. etc. etc. This will take a while. And the lab is within walking distance on every Sunday morning.