Thursday, May 13, 2010

Early Birders Catch the Oriole!

I stole out early one morning this week before heading to the office to go birding with Joe Superchi on one of his monthly accessible birding trips in Athol. The day was cold but sunny, after quite the cold snap. Though it seemed like the birds were waking slowly at 8am, by the end of the 2 hour excursion at the water treatment plant, the 10 of us who came together had a good fill of avian action along a wetland.

Joe's trips are a local community affair. The Athol Bird and Nature Club sponsors the accessible birding ventures and there are usually a few members in attendance, including Joe's high school science teacher, Bob Coyle. Joe's sister came, and his brother who is visiting from Washington. I was pleased to see some newcomers who had read about the excursion in the paper. Lori uses canes and has difficulty walking any distance. As a new birder this was a perfect opportunity for her to meet some new people and find out about accessible places to bird. She and her husband Dave followed us in their vehicle along a quarter mile paved roadway through the wetland and birded some from their car and also parked and got out to bird on foot with us.

One of our first treats was a warbling vireo, identified by song, then seen in its full unglamorous glory flitting in the bushes. Also zipping around in the still not fully leafed out shrubbery were yellow warblers, common yellowthroats, goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, and one very operatic Baltimore oriole who put on quite a display. In the marsh a few of us spotted a wood duck and everyone had great looks at a great blue heron and a migrating solitary sandpiper in the gleaming light.

With my simple camera, I can take good shots of birders but not birds, so Joe gets all the credit for his wonderful oriole image. I've been birding with Joe now for quite a few years and I have to say this was the first time I realized he was resting his binoculars on top of his camera as he switched off between viewing and taking pictures. He's got a neat way of integrating his tripod and wheelchair using caribiners - always interesting to see individual techniques in the field. Thanks Joe!

1 comment:

Pamela said...

Really happy to see all that you are providing for folks with different abilities.

Pam (