Now it's time to switch gears, and prepare for some summer birding. I know of some birders who consider summer a time to take a break from birding all together. I see it as an opportunity to be more selective.
There are a few things I don't like about the summer birding such as heat, humidity, mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, and dense foliage. How do we deal with these problems?
- Heat/humidity-One way I deal with this is by getting up extra early to go birding 5am is best but no later than 6am. Even in the hottest part of the summer, it tends to be reasonably cool early in the morning. There also tends to be fewer bugs first thing in the morning. -Other ways of staying cool are to bird in the deeply shaded woods, higher elevations, or near the shoreline, where there is a breeze.
- Mosquitoes/biting flies/ticks-I use long sleeved clothing made of light material and lots of insect repellent with deet. I really don't like using this stuff but I couldn't tolerate birding if I was getting bit by mosquitoes all the time. It's just a necessary evil. Just shower it off when you get home.
- Dense foliage-If you go birding at the shore or in an open field, it's not a problem. I sometimes prefer to be deep in the heart of the woods.In the summer, that can make it extremely difficult to see birds. The solution? 1-Work on your birding by ear. Try to use your own personal strategies to figure out which birds are making what noise.-take notes, check your field guide-listen to bird song cd's etc. 2-The other strategy I like to employ in this situation, is to select an area you believe will be good for birds-(maybe near a stream for example)-and sit. If you stay in one place, birds should eventually come in to your viewing area. I've seen some really neat birds this way. I remember watching nesting male and female Hooded Warblers landing right near me , acting as if I didn't even exist.
There are several other things that I am looking forward to during the summer months:
- One thing is vacation. I'll soon be going on a fishing trip to the Connecticut Lakes Region in Pittsburg New Hampshire (top pic). Here, I will be able to look for some of the Boreal species of birds that I'm unable to see in this area such as the Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker.
- I will also be checking the B-mail for reports of rare species. If there is an interesting species reported that's not too far , I may take a ride to see it. I'm not big on listing, but it never hurts to see new birds.
- This is also a good time to check out some new areas. Since you don't feel like your missing out on anything, you can take your time to investigate new areas.
- I'm looking forward to experimenting with my camera, to see if I can get better results. Maybe I'll even read the owner's manual.
- Summer is a good time to relax and enjoy the birds and flowers of your backyard. Add to that a little music, a book, or a cold glass of iced tea-ahh-The Good Old Summertime.
- I can work on learning shorebirds. This is the group of birds that I've most neglected to learn.
- Why not try to do a little sketching or start a little birding diary?
- I plan on looking for some lesser known field trips, or maybe I'll lead my own field trip.
- For those of you who live in CT., don't forget to check out A Connecticut Birding Year. This is an excellent rescource provided by the COA. It has birding strategies for each of the different seasons in Connecticut.
So-as you can see, the approach of summer does not mean birding is over and done with.
-What are you looking forward to over the summer?-