I have a thing for birds. It is difficult to fully explain how completely ingrained they have been in my life and my experiences in New England. This includes treks to Cape Ann, Massachusetts to see the snowy owls; to visiting puffins on Matinicus Rock and Eastern Egg Rock, Maine, to counting loon chicks on Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.
Countless weekends in my childhood were spent birding. Even holidays have been defined by such activities as rising before dawn to partake in the annual Christmas Birds Count, and every New Years Eve calling barred owls and screech owls in the woods at midnight with one of the world's greatest ornithologists.
As with the ocean, a scene with birds is always changing.
Birding takes one to some beautiful places.
|One can see Ospreys and their nests from the roads, but I prefer being in their world (even on cold days), such as this inlet in Wiscasset.|
|Loons are in the salt water this time of year but when the warmer weather arrives they will be back and closely monitored by the volunteers at the Loon Center.|
|I still use my father's Nikons from several decades ago. (I find scopes just a bit too heavy for most outings.)|
I have never known a generation of my family that did not have a love of birds, even when that included hunting them.
|My Father Grouse Shooting in Maine|
I probably spent more time socializing with adults as a child birding than almost anywhere else.
|Here, Birding with Naturalist Edwin Way Teale (left) and Yankee Magazine's Larry Willard (right).|
|My father took this photograph of his great friend, Dave Parsons, the taxidermist at Yale's Peabody Museum in New Haven, and...|
|Even our Christmas stockings (for both humans and pets) reflect our avian love.|
This time of the year, with the leaves gone, it is a great time to be on the look out for some larger birds.