Thursday, December 27, 2012

Birding Without Binoculars!

By Landon Neumann

Have you ever birded without binoculars?  Well, two months ago I had the experience of birding without binoculars.  You’re probably wondering why I didn’t bring my binoculars when I went birding.  Well, it was actually on accident.  I had been gathering my gear together for the morning before I was to meet up with a local birder to go birding with and when we pulled into the first spot I realized I had forgotten my binoculars.  Being already eight o’clock I didn’t want to go back even though the other birder said we could go back, so I birded without binoculars.

Luckily, I had my scope and camera with me, so I wasn’t entirely without optics.  At the spot we began at we had birds like White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows; however, most of the birds were fairly close, so identifying these birds was too hard of a challenge even without binoculars.  After birding at our first stop, which was France Park, we sent off for Georgetown Rd. Being late fall it was fairly quiet until we came across a mixed flock that involved your basic woodland birds such as: Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker and so on.  After watching  the flock  for a few minutes I noticed a woodpecker flying away from a tree about twenty feet from me, I yelled out, “ Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.” After that I thought, “Did I really just identify that woodpecker that was flying away from me from a distance without using binoculars?”  Within five minutes we found the sapsucker again, which turned out to be a nice adult.

The moral of the story is that sometimes birding without binoculars can make you a better birder because it can train you to recognize subtle field marks and behavior in birds that you might otherwise take for granted when using binoculars.  Hopefully you will try to bird without binoculars sometime.  It can be rewarding and fun, but I still enjoy using binoculars when I go birding.

No comments:

Post a Comment