Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green Birding Every Day

"I have to walk the dog", was how I initially justified getting up a half hour early to my wife. Thanks to my dog, I started my daily 30-40 minute walks in my neighborhood about 3 years ago. I now look forward to this morning walk as a relaxing and uplifting way to start my day and a good therapy for the stress from my job as a criminal defense attorney. While my dog does get her walk, I also use this opportunity to bird, photograph, or just enjoy the new moon, the sun coming up from behind the clouds, or the fog draped around Morro Rock. I appreciate the fact that I live about 2 blocks from Morro Bay.
I have been rewarded with the goal of most birders - rarities - on my walks. I have found White-winged Dove, Tropical Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Bell's and Blue-headed Vireos, Prairie Warbler, Indigo Bunting, White-throated Sparrow, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Orchard Oriole, etc. I enjoy finding birds which are out of range for this part of California, but I savor the every day observations such as where common birds roost, what birds hang out together, and the behavior of common birds such as the Snowy Egret (shaking one leg at a time to stir up sediment and find treats) or the Great Blue Heron (sitting motionless for longer than I have the patience to time), or the Blue-winged Teal (moving its bill through the sediment at low tide). I also watch the affects of the tides, the amount of daylight, and the weather, on the birds. Each year, I look forward to the arrival of the first Allen's Hummingbirds in February, the first migrant passerines in March and April, the arrival of the first shorebirds (after their summer absence) in early July, the arrival of migrant passerines from August through October, the return of the ducks in September, and last (but not least) are the Brant in early November.
A considerable part of my green birding involves these daily walks from home. They are a great way to observe birds, but perhaps more important is the positive effect they have on my piece of mind.

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