Okay, I guess I need to reveal my guilty secret (one of them) – - I love to watch “Dancing with the Stars”. You might wonder what this has to do with birds or birders. Actually there are many possible answers to that.
Right now, one of the stars just got the first score of 30 for the season, a perfect score, from the judges. She did everything right, everything. Even I could tell that. So, what would you say is a birding day that you would give a perfect score (there is no way I’m going to open a discussion of “how do you score a perfect birder”)?
For me, a perfect birding day would first of all have many birds, at least many of which would be birds that I really wanted to see. During a big year, of course, at least some of those would be birds that I needed for the big year, like rare birds or birds that I kept missing until then. Not only would I see these birds, but I would see them very we’ll, preferably close up. And I’d see them singing, flying, doing something interesting.
To make the day a 30 though, I’d need to get a good photograph of at least some of the birds, especially the rarer ones. While I do have the ability to remember birds seen, it is so much better to have a picture to stare at later, to revel in the bird sighting (and of course help to document the sighting if needed).
To make the day have a score over 30, someone else would be there to see the birds with me. If it were a rare bird, the perfect day would include me being able to call other birders and/or post the sighting right away on the relevant listserv, so that others could see the bird too.
Of course a perfect day would have weather in which I like to bird (not too blazing hot, not freezing rain, not so windy that the moving vegetation obscures all the birds, etc.). Actually, the most important thing about the weather is that it follows the forecast provided to me each day by my meteorologist husband, because that is what I’ll be prepared for (and he’ll be a happier spouse when I get home if his forecast verifies).
A perfect birding day does not really end. When you get home (or to wherever you are spending the night), you become aware of new birds to look for the next day, or places to go birding the next day, and you get to go birding the next day, and the next day is another perfect day.
When I watch “Dancing with the Stars”, it seems to me that during most of the dances, even the stars who do not get perfect scores enjoy the dancing. It is the same with birding days – even though not every day is a perfect day, I still enjoy almost every day that I can do some birding.
Sometimes a perfect day may consist of seeing just one special bird. Below is a somewhat blurry picture of a very distant Black Scoter that I saw last week, discovered on a search of lakes in the area of Wall, SD. The bird just swam and dozed, and as far as I know only one other birder got to see it before it departed, but it was a beautiful day and the scoter was a brand new bird for me for the county and for western South Dakota. I felt like I was dancing with the birds!
Latest posts by Lynn Barber (see all)
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