There is something to be said for being a hanger-on…a tag-a-long…a just-along-for-the-ride kind of person. Having an older brother, I was trained at an early age for this role. In this picture you can tell that I hung away from the group on the bird watching excursion to Lake Merritt last week.
My role does not necessitate much equipment…no binocs and no scopes to carry (although those who have them are very gracious about letting me share if I wish to). No notebook and pen. Just armed with my iPhone stuffed in my pocket. Not keeping a list and trying to increase it leaves me free to notice supporting characters in the scenery drama. Don’t get me wrong…I can immediately identify an oystercatcher. I know when it is a Red-tail Hawk soaring (as long as the light is behind him and illuminating his tail). I’ve got the difference between Night Herons, Great Blue Herons and Egrets. Canada Geese are a piece of cake. Greater and Lesser Scaup, not so much. I pride myself on my other skills…I can easily distinguish for you the difference between violet, red-violet, and blue-violet which I am sure TM cannot (not fair, really, because he is color blind…I think he must identify birds based on shape and pattern). My strengths lie elsewhere. and I know it, so I do not hyper focus only on the birds leaving me the time to notice the other components of the environment. In this case, it was the trees that line the bank of Lake Merritt. I do not know what their name is, but I think their shapes and textures are exhilarating and I had fun photographing them along with a few flowers who were performing in their role as early arrivals for the spring that is to come.
As TM does his bird field trips, I will continue to develop my skills in the art of being an observer-tag-along from just to the side, having my own kind of fun…
p.s. The trees may be coastal tea trees native to Australia.