So, I've been reading through my Birder's Guide to Florida and after glancing for a while at the seasonal status of the birds that can be found in the state, I realize that the Panhandle actually has fewer potential species than the peninsula. This is ok because it's still a part of Florida that I haven't visited yet. However, I also read that Merritt Island Florida, which my family visited way back when I had just passed into my early teens, is the best place to birdwatch along the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Damn, I wish we had taken that trip later in my life after I had become a more experienced birder! It's also one of the best places to observe Florida Scrub Jay but do you think I saw any? Nope! Sadly, at the time, I didn't know I should be looking for them. I was too focused on waders and seabirds (my first Northern Gannet was seen on the day we went to Merritt Island).
The beautiful Florida Scrub Jay - my first trip to Florida and I didn't know what I was doing so I missed it! My third trip won't produce the species; they don't occur on the Panhandle. Oh well...someday.
This time around I have my guide, I have my wits about me, and I know what I'm doing (mind you, 10 years down the road I'll look back and say, DAMN! why didn't I try harder?? I was such an inexperienced birder then). Seeing your progress as the years go on is one of the great rewards of the hobby. I know I have learned a great deal over the years but it never ends. Currently, I'm looking into finally digging out my bird call CD's, wiping away the dust, and learning bird songs again. I was getting decent at a time and then lost it when I stopped studying (due to University mostly). Now, I have the time and I have a reason: the trips! I want to study my Florida and Arizona birds before those respective trips come around, but also scrape the rust off my Ontario bird song knowledge. If only I had an iPod, I could listen to bird tapes wherever I go...alas I am limited to my computer as a means.
Back to Florida, I hope to soon get up a list of "target species" for my trip. These will include lifers, birds that I missed on my other 2 trips to Florida, and those that I want to see again and study further (in case they make their way up to Point Pelee, I want to be prepared).
In other news, Marianne and I are getting excited...the OFO convention is looming in the near future (mid-October to be exact). I can't wait to see all the people I missed this Spring because I made the move to Toronto at the end of April. I'm excited to tell them of my birding in Toronto (still mostly restricted to High Park and the waterfront) and my upcoming trips.
In other other news, my roommate, Jess, and I have been watching David Attenborough's Life of Birds and I'm loving every moment of it. Now that I've taken a course on Ornithology, I know all the science/evolutionary jargon he's talking about and I appreciate the filming of the series. There are some fascinating, bizarre birds out there that I had no idea existed (I'm a North American bird fanatic...until I start traveling the other continents, many of these species will remain a mystery). However, I think it would be fun to have a feature on my blog about some of the most bizarre species and their attributes. I hope to write a few soon.