I have been birdwatching for 25+ years, but I caught a casual interest from my father long before that. What I love most about it is being out in nature during all seasons and making friends with all creatures.
My partner and I share this hobby together, and it’s been an entertaining base for our 31 years together. We started birding in California, then ventured to other states, and after that the world was our vista.
Birding has also strengthened my travel destinations in a way I never expected. I get very specific about where I want to go; an important part of successful travel experiences. Yes, Amsterdam is terrific, a spot of London fills me up too, but seeing the male frigatebird during breeding with his red pouch inflated…that’s where I want to be.
I’ve met some talented and endearing people through birding. Local guides are a fascinating way to learn about people around the world. To share lunch on a log with a Kenyan as he tells you about his son’s school day, or to prowl in an Australian rainforest as the guide mutters about his failing torch…to me this is paradise.
I keep a Life List of all the birds I have seen. I record the first sighting, place and date; process the data on birding software. This Life List, an accumulation of several thousand different bird species, is a pleasant reminder of beautiful days in the field, and remarkable birds I have had the joy to observe.
With 10,000 bird species on this planet, there is always a new and exciting quest.