Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trying New Things

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Wow- it has been quite cold in this part of PA- but I can't complain- it's been colder, and is colder for others. I tend to think about it as a good thing- it kills germs, and is part of the natural cycle. I saw a sign a couple of weeks ago and an outdoor sports store that said, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing". I thought about that yesterday as I experienced my first true birding excursion.

I am an advisor for an environmental group at the same YMCA where I teach preschool and work for camp. I filled in for another staffer yesterday on a trip to the "local" Waste Management facility. It was extremely cold, and extremely windy- we were right off the Delaware River. Apparently, it is a great time of year to observe various types of gulls. Now, I don't know much about birds, but it is very intriguing to me. It amazes me that people have that knowledge to be able to tell similar birds apart by their beak coloring, their wing shape, a coloring around the eye, or the tiniest details that just look like "character" to me. We saw various types of gulls- Herring Gulls, Iceland Gulls and Glaucous Gulls among others (I can't remember them all!). But, from what I observed, I felt like I experienced seeing rare-ish gulls such as the Iceland and the Glaucous Gulls because the others were saying it was their first every. Prior to the trip yesterday, I thought that all "gulls" were the same- just various colorings. I called them "seagulls" and hated them. Now, I know that the different colorings indicate how old the gulls are and how they change as the go through years. The different colorings are also a way to help you identify between the various types.

What I was more amazed about was that high schoolers were able to identify the differences between them. They pointed them out to me, explained the differences to me, and were passionate about it! It was awesome. I think back to my high school experience, and I don't think there was anything or a hobby I had that I was that passionate about it other than my faith. But to have a hobby and be so passionate about- in hindsight and having such hobbies now, I missed out.

What was most amazing was the quantity of gulls. I don't think in my entire life, I have ever seen that many gulls. While I was trying to stay warm, and watching the students identify the birds and learn about them, I was in awe at the vast quantity- I can't even put a number on it.

From top of pile

All of those "spots" = gulls
It's always fun to try new things and learn about them while doing it. I have a different level of appreciation for birders that I didn't know I had before I observed them enjoying they day of identifying gulls. Oh- and I got pooped on. I hope that's a sign of good luck!

Try anything new lately?

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