Something was different in today’s morning encounter with nature. Given that I could recognize no bird other than a crow a week ago, I managed to spot a Blue Jay, Cardinal, Robin and of course a crow during my morning jog. All thanks to the bird walk along Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary trails guided by members of the Cayuga Bird Club which I went on last Sunday.
Impressed by this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTR21os8gTA, I always longed to visit Cornell lab of ornithology. I checked their website and was glad to know that Cayuga Bird Club conducted free guided bird walks at 7.30 AM every Saturday and Sunday in the woods around the lab. We had rented a car previous day and along with 4 friends from Cornell I did a great job in getting up early and making it to woods on time. We waited patiently for club members to show up. We could see that people there had huge cameras and binoculars and I didn’t realize their importance until later. At around 7:30 AM, a club member named Becky Hansen joined us. We were more happy to have her company, for she came with a bunch of awesome binoculars which turned out to be extremely helpful during the bird walk. It was funny that we were there for bird watching and didn’t even know how to calibrate the binoculars.
Around 15 of us were there and everyone followed Becky with a fresh energy and morning smile. We went to a small bridge overlooking a lake where Goose were in abundant. Like small kids we soon started enjoying seeing the geese and other birds around with our binoculars. I felt it best to view with my glasses on for better clarity.
We then took a trail and reached another lake where we spotted few more birds. Becky explained why exactly the birds serenade and it was interesting knowing few other facts too. Unlike in humans, male birds have an upper hand in beauty. We continued along the trail and spotted a Sapsucker (A version of woodpecker) after which the surrounding woods is named. I had never seen wood-pecking in action and it was fun watching it live. Soon we spotted Cardinal, Blue Jay, Robins, Kingfisher, Red Crowned, Kingfisher, Red-headed woodpecker, etc. It was simply soothing to see the array of bright colors in these birds. Binoculars were great and we took in everything we could and had our sweet fun. Once the bird is spotted, letting others know about the exact position of the bird in the woods is also an art. Some people had funny ways of telling this.
A great Blue Heron was chilling at the lake near the viewing platform and everyone got an amazing view of it while it stood on one leg. Cardinal was actually easy to recognize given its bright red color and I could spot it without anybody’s help. I also became acquainted with its distinguishing chirp. Humorously, I was termed as Cardinal expert by Becky.
Along the way Becky told us to be aware of the Poison Ivy weed and we also could see the matrices of holes on the trees created by woodpeckers. We walked few more distance around and it was at the final bridge which was on a swampy area were we saw huge of number of birds, especially the Red-Winged Blackbird. I was taken aback with its beauty and I just wowed. Realizing how impressed I was Becky said, “You were attracted by the beauty, imagine how it could be for the female birds”. Soaking in all the beauty and sounds we completed the walk at around 9:30 AM and thanked Becky for the beautiful morning. Along with my morning jog I now can recognize more birds.