Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Keeping it Simple

Two trips to report on this week,

No big impressive species lists from Friday at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Three of us walked the big loop, and got some exercise. We also had some great views of different butterflies. We did have some very brief glimpses at some Northern Parulas and Blue-gray gnatcatcher. Most of the migrants it seems, were taking advantage of the tailwind provided by the tropical low in south FL that day.  Coolest thing I'd say I saw was a Loggerhead Shrike. I've always thought it's a good day when I see one of those. I did take some horrible pictures of an American Kestrel using my binoculars and my cell phone camera.

There he is!
I suppose it will pass as "art"

The girls (Katie age 9 and Emma age 6) woke me up this morning wanting to go bird Circle B Bar, once again, not a big list, but we did have good practice using binoculars, and had some excellent looks at a little blue heron, and a Turkey vulture. I was especially proud of Emma, who ID'd the Little Blue Heron using field marks, shape, leg color and bill color. She also spotted the turkey vulture, which was only 15-30 yards away. You could really make out the details on the turkey vultures's head, I think we were leaving just as the migrants were waking up, there was some BGGNs in the parking lot on the way out. We got there at 8AM and left at 9AM.

Here's the link to the ebird checklists:
Holloway Park:
Circle B:
I plan on being out at Holloway again at 09:15 Friday, and I'll certainly welcome any company.

Some notes on taking kids birding.
  • Prepare to be patient. You've got to be there to help the kids, iding birds, finding birds, and keeping lists comes second.
  • Make the outing about spending time together. They have fun birding, but I know it's mainly about being together, outside. The best part of our trip to Circle B was the ride home where I rolled all the windows down and they laughed while the wind blew through the car.
  • The right equipment makes a big difference. The most important thing to consider when considering binoculars for kids is size. smaller, even if it means less magnifcation is better. If you have to choose, choose lower magnification and bigger objective lenses. A pair of 6x 30s is good enough. Especially to start a young birder off right.
  • They'll love you forever if you remember to bring a snack. 

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