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Birding II

For my second time birding, I got a few things together rather than just my binoculars this time. I also wore a jacket.

I set up a camp chair near one of the trees, brought out my Cannon with 250 zoom lens attached, and an empty journal to record any birds I saw, and I had my birder’s guide to Kentucky birds. I sat in the chair after having placed bird seed on the lamp pillars by the driveway. First I used my binos and set the focus to the trees close to me. All my little birds were happy and chirping.

Birds flew up high above the trees and would land in the tip top. All I could see without binoculars would be dark gray birds all the same color and shape – but with binos, I saw the actual color and species of all sorts of birds!

I knew some of them right away – the Tufted Titmouse, and Mocking Birds. But I had no idea what a Junco was until I used my birding guide and looked it up. How fun!

The birding guide has colored tabs on the edge so I can quickly look for the color of the bird and go straight to where I would find information.

I learned that the White Breasted Nuthatch was the bird that climbed down the tree, and is the only bird able to do that. I had several in my trees.

I noticed many “babies” are out right now. Some immature Mocking Birds I didn’t recognize as Mocking Birds until I looked up their picture. I also saw a red headed bird that did not look like a woodpecker or a tanager, so I wasn’t sure until I looked it up, but found it was a House Wren. I didn’t know there were reddish wrens. That was a great find!

My niece’s last name is Wren, and I have been fond of the wren birds ever since she married into that name and I had looked it up.  

After seeing so many species, I knew I just had to try getting photos. I spotted the birds closest to me and slowly put down my binos and grabbed my camera. Normally, with the regular lens I just shoot and point with the automatic setting. This time, I tried the manual setting.

I had learned just by familiarizing myself with how to use binoculars, some things about my camera lens. My perception on understanding photography (though I do not claim to be a photog) was a little clearer.

At first, many of the birds came out blurry in the photos, because as I adjusted what I thought would be the ‘diopter’ lens on the camera (like the binoculars have) but it would grab the lamp post, with the back ground blurred out as I wanted, but also the bird was not as sharp, even if I could see it clearly in the lens. It wasn’t as clear as the lamp post, but I couldn’t tell that until I downloaded my photos to my computer.

I got lucky on some of the photos – 30 out of 200 were clear, so for my first time trying, I think that was pretty good. I will practice more on paying attention to the focus as I take pictures next time.

After about an hour and a half, I was pretty cold and had to go inside, but it was still early and I was sure the day would warm up and maybe I could go back out later.

My twin sons live a mile up the road, and they texted me to ask if I wanted to try going kayaking. It was chilly, but I dressed for it! I was excited.

The three of us went to Energy Lake at Lake Barkley, and set out in our kayaks. I couldn’t wait to see my first bird, which was some sort of gull. My vision was a little blocked, so I squeezed my binos together to change the width, but that didn’t help. I tried holding the top part of the eye piece against my brow to steady it, but that didn’t help. I held them away from my eyes and could see a little, but that ‘blocking’ came in and out.

I tried it again when a family of ducks flew into the water for a dip. I was frustrated, thinking that it was too hard to manage keeping my paddle in my lap, my kayak moving on the water, and trying to focus.

Nathan said, it was probably impossible to get a view because of the movement. I remember reading when researching binoculars that you need to keep steady to get a clear image. And, drifting in the lake, was not steady, so I would not have success birding from a kayak.

I put my binos down, and just enjoyed what I could see with my 54 year old eyes.

My guys and I enjoyed being together, and the peace the lake brings – especially since we were the only ones who braved the chilly weather.

I did pick my binoculars back up when I saw something white all over the water about a thousand feet away.

Pelicans! I couldn’t get a good view of course, but I saw them enough to identify them. I only had my cell phone, so there was no way to get a photo and it was already time for the sun to set.

We headed back to shore and that was my second adventure in birding.  I had a little success in identifying birds at my house and then learning that kayaking is not a good time to bird watch. It was a good day.


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