Monday, December 17, 2007

Through Rain and Cold and Dark of Morning

So there wasn't sleet or snow, at least, but I spent all day outside yesterday--7 a.m. to 4 p.m. birding for the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. It was me and this guy about my age who works at Private University as an ecologist. He's really fun and brought a couple of dozen Toll House cookies his wife made. Good man. Funny, too. He's from k-zoo, MI, which helps a slight bond between us.

He's also a really good birder; if it had been just me, I'd have seen probably the same number of birds, but it would have taken me 3 times as long to identify them. Most all of the raptors would have gone unidentified, because many of the hawks look so like the others that it's hard to tell. He was also irreplaceable for identifying "little brown jobbies." I got my first REALLY good look at some field sparrows yesterday.

We got together later for dinner with the rest of the people who'd participated in the Durham County count, and it was an overwhelmingly male group. My birding partner, who was the organizer for this count, estimated that about 90% of what he called "hardcore" birders are men, but that backyard birders are way more likely to be women. If you consider people who do bird counts to be the "hardcore" ones, he was pretty much on the money with the people who showed up at the dinner. Hm. Maybe I need to step up my birding-networking.

Wow. I just realized that I didn't have one "lifer" yesterday!