Today is cool and grey and damp here in Maryland. It’s not the kind of day where you wake up with an overwhelming desire to spend the day outdoors. In fact, staying inside wrapped in something warm is appealing. But often the grey wet days can be the most interesting bird days in the yard.
Over the past year, Jim and I have been gradually exploring birding spots in central Maryland where we live. Birds can of course be found just about anywhere, including your backyard, roadsides and area parking lots. But birds need food, cover, places to nest and water, so spots where these needs are met in abundance are going to be hot spots where you are likely to find more birds. In my immediate area, one of the best spots for finding birds is Patuxent Research Refuge which straddles Anne Arundel and Prince Georges Counties (just about mid-way between DC and Baltimore.) If you live in this area or are visiting and want to get in some birding, it is a great place to try.
If you enjoy watching birds and have a smart phone, there are some wonderful apps that will enrich your birding. Whether you want to figure out where to find interesting birds in the area, or if you want a field guide in your pocket so you can figure out what that bird is in front of you, or even if you just want to keep a log of what birds you’ve seen, there are apps that will make things easy for you. The wealth of birding resources that you can fit in your pocket is amazing. These are the four apps that I use every week.
Want to set up your own bird photography default settings? In my post the other day, “Backyard Bird Photos: Basic Tips”, I mentioned that I wasn’t happy with the automatic Bird watching mode of my Nikon Coolpix p900 and instead created my own group of default settings for bird photography. If your camera lets you set things like ISO, focus and metering options, aperture or shutter speed settings, etc., you can probably tweak them to improve your bird photos too. Even if you have a different camera, the settings I’m sharing in this post should give you ideas for how you might set it up to work best for you.
Hummingbirds on the Way!
According to the Hummingbird Migration Map at Hummingbirds.net, the hummingbirds are starting to arrive in Maryland. So today I’m putting up the hummingbird feeders. I’ve got two, each a little bit different but both designed to attract those fascinating tiny hummingbirds.
If you spend long periods of time wearing a pair of binoculars, you have probably experienced one of the banes of bird watching: a sore neck. Even binoculars that seem light at first, can be a surprising drag on your neck after a while and that takes some of the fun out of birding. The solution? A harness for your binoculars. It is a simple inexpensive fix that will save you years of sore necks!