My new binoculars arrived last week and today I had a chance to take them out for a spin and see if my money was well spent. Michele and I went to Jackson Bottom Wetlands for a few hours and looked over the usual suspects of waterfowl and raptors. I'll be bringing my Beginning Birding 2 group here next Sunday so I needed to reacquaint myself with the terrain. Still a great place! Loads of flooded fields, wide open ponds, quiet backwaters. Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, Pintails, Ruddy Ducks, Gadwall and a few Cinnamon Teal were all about. Also got a preview of warbler movement......we saw maybe 10-12 Yellow-rumps working the trees during our visit....they are the first to arrive so this means Black-throated Grays can't be far behind!
Now I'm back at home in front of the computer realizing that my spring teaching season is really here like RIGHT NOW and so I'd better get my act together! Next week starts Beginning Birding 2 - three field trips over the next two Sundays and one Saturday. Right after that starts Birding By Ear-Residents with an evening class then three 7am field trips. I have scrapped the previous format of "Here's 10 birds - let's learn them!" for a Residents Only and Migrants Only curriculum and moved the classes up a few weeks. The idea is to be able to concentrate on just the locals before the migrants show up. Learning birdsong is great fun but takes time and patience. Well, I guess I don't know that learning it is great fun.....but I know that teaching it is so I try to make it fun for my students. Repetition is the name of the game and I can repeat "That's a Song Sparrow" as many times as needed.
My afternoon has been spent editing song tracks to remove the introduction so I can use them in a quiz, rewriting handouts, rewriting my outline and wondering how the heck I can get it all across in such a short period of time. Well, I'll do what I can and then it's up to the birds to show up and sing for us!