Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ten Factors For A Good Day Of Birding

Here is my top ten list of factors that help make for a good day of birding. I tried to put them in order but not necessarily in exact order.

1) Preparation-If you leave things behind such as binoculars, field guide, camera, scope, batteries,field notebook,directions, jacket, or any other needed items it can put a real damper on things. Not leaving early enough can also detract from the day.

2) Sleep-Feeling well rested definitely enhances the day. I tend to be more perceptive in my hearing and vision. I am also much more enthusiastic if I've had a good night's sleep.

3) Weather-You can adapt your day to do some form of birding in any weather conditions but a pleasant day can enhance the overall experience.

4) Location-Exploring a scenic area, hot spot, or a location that you've never tried before can make things more interesting.

5) Birds-Seeing lots of birds, a good variety of species, interesting bird behavior, or new species can definitely help make it a great day of birding. Discovering a really rare bird can make for an exceptional day.

6) Optics-Having superb optics makes everything look so much better. It's not just the quality of the optics though. The viewing conditions- (lighting,air quality etc.) have a definite effect on the performance of whatever optics you do have.

7) Season-There are certain days in each season that exemplify the beauty of that particular season. -The perfect Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter day.

8) Time-I probably should have put this one higher on the list. Not having any time constraints allows you to bird at a much more relaxing pace without feeling that you have to squeeze everything in.

9) Food-It's nice to start the day with a cup of coffee and breakfast of your choice or perhaps hold off on breakfast till a little later in the morning.

10) Company-Although I enjoy birding alone, it's nice to go birding with others for a change of pace.

Which of these would make it to the top of your list? Do you have any that you'd like to add?


J. Karl Clampit said...

Great list! Very comprehensive and informative.

Jayne said...

Getting brave enough to leave my backyard? ;c)

Larry said...

j. karl-thanks.
jayne-Maybe that can be your New Year's resolution.

Cathy said...

Excellent, Larry. Very well considered. You know, - my priorities might change from time to time, season to season, but I think you've got a pretty good lineup here.

( I always stash an old pair of binoculars in my car. There is no worse birding tragedy than forgetting your 'eyes'.)

Mary C said...

That's a great list, Larry. As you said, it's probably not in exact order of priority, but it certainly indicates a lot of thought to what you wrote. Number 1 is crucial, since I have experienced forgetting my camera. But nonetheless, I still had a great day - I just don't have any visual reminders, only mental reminders of what I saw.

RuthieJ said...

That's a good list, Larry.

I always have a map, too, especially if I'm in an unfamiliar area. Usually to find my way around, but also convenient to mark the good birding spot in case I ever want to find it again

J. Karl Clampit said...

I also carry a little notebook and keep it in my camera case. This way I can jot down my thoughts and observations. I also keep my 2nd pair of binos in my car just in case!

Mary said...

It's a great list, Larry. I think the most important thing for me is to keep hydrated all day long and to have a good breakfast and snacks along the way.

Optics and a charged battery in the camera, definitely! Good company is nice, too.

Jochen said...

I'd like to add another one: Information

It always helps to know which birds to expect and where to find them.

I found a lot of good birds by knowing e.g. that neighbouring countries (or in your case states) were experiencing an influx of a certain species and that this species was thus to be expected in "my" area as well.
I then looked up its preferred habitat during migration, made a plan or route for a birding day that would cover a lot of this habitat, read up on its identification or listened to the calls of the species and when I was outside in the "target areas", I specifically searched for it by scanning its preferred habitat.

To succeed in such a way is a very satisfying birding experience, but this way of birding is entirely based on information!

dguzman said...

Great list, Larry--I second the notepad/pen and map as must-have accessories to bring along.

Anonymous said...

Time, I like to bird most in the morning and I don't like to be rushed. Birding should be an unrushed pursuit. Plus you can pass up some really neat birds if you are too much in a hurry.

Larry said...

Cathy-Good point -I like to carry spare binoculars in my truck as well.

Mary C-I would rather forget my camera than my binoculars but I suppose you could try to make a day of it either way.

ruthie j-I also carry a map.-I'm bad at following directions but do well with a map.

Mary-What sort of snacks would you pack?

jochen-Great information!Your experience shows in your posts and comments.
You should make a post on the topic if you haven't already. I haven't yet done much traveling.

dzugman-I enjoy taking notes.-My next step is to find a way to carry a bigger field notebook.

pa-birder-I share those same thoughts.Having plenty of time makes it a much more enjoyable experience.

Anonymous said...

Time is my biggest one... I spend to many lunch hours scurrying along the trail trying to get to a good "patch" when I wish I could just take it slow and spend all day...

Food - you can never pack too much food (and drinks)

Optics - true all the way... even the best optics are no fun if it is raining sideways!!

Great list!!