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BEGINNER BIRDING FRUSTRATIONS IN STILLWATER

By Caroline Corser

Cheerleader for Positive Lifestyles

 

This birding thing is one new adventure after another. I was visiting in Stillwater , Oklahoma last summer and went out on my own to a little lake near town to see what new birds I could find.  Following a lovely trail around the lake, I saw several birds on power wires. Now that was real frustration, trying to identify birds looking at their bottoms! Maybe I would have done better with stronger binoculars. I waited and hoped they would turn, but even when they did, it was hopeless.  From that angle, and with my lack of experience, I couldn’t tell what they were.

The real thrill, though, came on my next trip out to the lake. Before I even got there, I saw a scissor-tailed flycatcher sitting on a barbed wire fence, just waiting for me to stop and appreciate its beauty.  What a beautiful bird—my first truly exotic bird!  It sat there, posing, showing off its beautiful peach breast and its glorious, long scissor-like tail.  It was lucky that I was on a deserted, country road because I stayed as long as I dared, pulled to the side with the motor running and binoculars glued to my eyes, taking in every detail and exclaiming to myself about its beauty.

My daughter-in-law, Mary Kay, my two-year-old granddaughter, Sophie, and I took a short birding trip back out at the same little lake before I left Oklahoma on the first day of my birding adventure across the southwest.   In the midst of our running commentary, as we corralled Sophie near the edge of the lake, a loud squawk and rush of wings startled us, and a heron crashed out of the brush at water’s edge in front of us and flew to the opposite shore.  Mary Kay followed him with her binoculars and confirmed that it did seem to be a heron.  After searching the book and trying to determine its color, we two beginners decided that it might be a little blue heron, since it was definitely shorter than the great blue, and it did seem to have a blue back. 

Well, a postscript to that one is that when Mary Kay later read the lists of sightings at that lake, no one had ever sighted a little blue heron there.  We therefore concluded that it was the green-backed heron, which, by the way, isn’t all green; the green is “mixed with blue-gray” on its back, according to the National Geographic Birds of North America book.  Oh, my…  This bird watching is like solving puzzles that don’t sit still while you’re working on them.  I guess that’s why it’s so much fun.  It’s one challenge after another, and the birds are so beautiful in their natural settings.

 

Caroline Corser, Cheerleader for Positive Lifestyles, speaks to baby boomers and seniors about filling your life with laughter and play. She can be reached at 661-871-9201 or    caroline@AwesomeAging.com

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