Preparing to bird the Everglades

Prepaing to bird

I consider myself a birder.  That means I own some binoculars and a spotting scope, which is sort of like a telescope for birders.  It sits on a tripod and you have to lug it around, which, depending on the brand (the most expensive is lightest–see below), is taxing. But the scope helps you with things like the leg color of far-off birds, and other things you want to see. (and sometimes some things you don’t–like naked people on a beach where there are shorebirds).

I do not have Swarovski (“swear off ski ‘) equipment, which, in my mind, marks you as a real (serious) birder. It is the lightest to lug around, however, so I do envy those who are so equipped.

My new birding/travel vest contains many pockets for assorted stuff you might need, such as repellant, field guide (birding lingo for bird book), keys, cell phone, lip balm, sunscreen, small camera, snacks, water, and assorted other paraphernalia you might find in a purse.  Purses must be left behind when you are in the field (outdoors).

I also posses a pair of greenish lightweight zip-off-to-convert-to-shorts pants, which seems to be popular among male and female birders, and a dark-brimmed hat for extra sunny days. I wear tennis shoes and socks (real birders wear hard-soled shoes).  Completing the outfit is what is called a binocular bra, a criss-cross strap/harness arrangement which lessens the load of binos (binoculars) on your neck. I had a little backpack, but it was embarrassing to keep tangling the bino straps and the backpack straps,  I switched to the vest.
All that, and my yellow sun-protecting shirt and I’m set to go. It’s a wonder birds don’t die laughing when approached by groups of humans with similar getups, bent on taking a look at THEM.

Regarding the new vest.  It has at least 16 pockets, zippers and a lot of velcro.  It’s what my mom would call pea green–the color of canned peas, not frozen. I wore it for the first time last weekend on a birding trip to the Everglades.

Before I did a load of wash this morning, I counted all my pockets–and I am not making this up–factoring in the vest and the pants, there are 22.  No wonder I spent most of my time on the trip trying to determine where I had put what.  Need a Tylenol for neck pain, check pocket number 5…on second thought, maybe 7–or was it 9?  Maybe I should just open them all, to check again for the motel room card…rip goes the Velcro. Rip rip rip. Zip goes the zipper, zip zip zip, and so on. AD NAUSEAUM.  I drove myself crazy, and I hadn’t even started birding the Everglades.

Tune in later for the next exciting installment–actual birding in the Everglades.


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Retired journalist, writer, editor and teacher. Our lives were lived in the Washington DC area, but I was born in upstate New York. Love nature, birding and reading. Volunteer at Ding Darling NWR . Proud mom of two, married to a wildlife photographer.

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