From time to time I think of something I should write down as a Birding Rule. I started a list and told myself when I got 10 I would blog about them. But what happened a couple of weeks ago lead me to do them individually. And I’ll start a new list on the home page keeping track of them there. So without further ado, Bob’s Birding Rules #1.
Bob’s Birding Rules #1 – WHEN BIRDING ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA
Not once in a while. Not when it’s convenient. Always.
That means it’s available when driving in the car. When you go to the bathroom in the woods. When eating lunch. Always.
Over the years I’ve had a few instances where I have missed great photo opportunities of both local and uncommon birds because I didn’t want to carry a camera. And I kicked myself later it.
And it happened again a couple of weeks ago.
The Upland Sandpiper Story
A few weeks ago my Nikon P900 stopped extending. Luckily I had purchased the extended warranty. All that was required was to send it in for repair. In the mean time I carried my old Panasonic DMZ35 which doesn’t have anywhere near the reach of the P900.
Saturday morning July 22 I visited one of the local shorebird sites. The water was viewable with my spotting scope which means it would have been in reach of the P900. But as stated above it was in the shop. I left my DMZ35 in the car since the birds would be too far away.
Through the spotting scope I could see Pectoral Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs, along with smaller shorebirds. While looking through the spotting scope I heard a strange bird call coming from the west and flying over my location. With the naked eye I could tell the bird was defiantly a larger shorebird.
Though my binoculars I immediately recognized it as an Upland Sandpiper.
I watched it fly towards the water and land in the tall grass away from the water. If it hadn’t flown over I would have never spotted it in the tall grass.
I tried and failed to take digiscope photos and then lost sight of the bird. I searched several minutes and later in the day to no avail.
Now if I would have had even the DMZ35 out of the car I could have easily taken flight photos since it went right over my location.
So when birding, always carry a camera, even if it is your older model. And even if they aren’t great photos, you’d at least have documentation photos.