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?

13 comments:

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.

PA-Birder 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.
Vern

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.

Birdfreak 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!!