To me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of birdwatching is the camaraderie. You may only have met someone five minutes ago, but if you happen to share a great bird sighting with them, you have something in common and will remember them for years. Who among us has not struck up a conversation with a perfect stranger because you heard them say "juvenile plumage Swainson's hawk" instead of just calling it a hawk?
Another perk to our hobby is having a group of like-minded friends who understand why you're doing the crazy-lifer-bird-dance when you finally tick that nemesis off your list. And they understand both 'nemesis' and 'list' because they have their own.
Watching a new birdwatcher fledge into a full blown birder, however, is the best part of this hobby for me.
Five years ago Calgarian Daniel Arndt wasn't particularly interested in birds, although he has always felt the strong pull of nature. Then he saw a Western Kingbird in Mexico, and was blown away when the guide said that bird spent his summers in Alberta.
Now he is outside every possible minute, puts hundreds of miles on his car looking for birds, has lists of lists, various smart phone apps, reports to eBird regularly, writes for a local bird blog, leads bird tours and takes some outstanding bird photographs. He also has a B.Sc. in Natural Science, and another in Geology, both from the University of Calgary.
Dan is more than willing to come to the aid of a friend when she has absolutely nothing to blog about. November is a frantically busy month for me. I haven't been birding in weeks, and while attempting to take pictures of the Pine Grosbeaks in my yard recently, discovered my old auto-focus camera is no longer inclined to focus on anything.
While I've been swearing at cameras and stuck in front of a computer, Dan has been taking some gorgeous photos of birds in Alberta. This seemed to be the perfect time to show off his work. You can see more of his photos on his Flickr page.
|American Three-toed Woodpecker|
|American Tree Sparrow|
|Great Gray Owl|
|Northern Hawk Owl|
|Northern Saw-whet Owl|