Birding by kayak

Good to hear they’re on CD
My Birding By Ear consists of 3 cassettes in a red case with a small booklet. Can’t remember when I bought it, it’s been so long. Being able to quickly fire up a specific birdcall without cycling through tape would be grrrrrreat.

When I was in FL, I bought Stan Teikela’s CD/book set for that state. Only one week ago it came in handy to ID a bird that I’d seen a few times, heard many times, but didn’t think the two were connected because it’s a tiny bird with a disproportionately loud call (pied-bill grebe). I never actually saw it calling out, just swimming and diving. Trying to follow the sound had gotten me nowhere except peering into the bushes at water’s edge. But I got to wondering, hmmm, could it be that that miniscule bird could make a big noise? So I clicked on the track and got my answer immediately. PERFECT match on both the territorial call and the fighting call, the latter which I had attributed to some late-lingering American coots.

Using bird sounds is often easier for me than relying on sight. Squinting up at trees in bright sunlight, often at great distances, often with quick-moving birds, is dicey for me. Sound ignores light quality and is reliable even with moving birds that are not close. But I am attuned to using my hearing from many years of a musical childhood.

Quick, three BEERS!
Olive-sided flycatcher.

Stick anchors work well
For shallow waters with fairly soft bottoms. All you need is a pole or stick sturdy enough to handle being pushed into the bottom and a short length of light rope. If you can find one of those flags for bicycles that consist of a fiberglass pole it’s the cat’s meow. Plenty of info online as well as pricey options.

I am trying to practice
I’ve been a DJ for 20+ years - you’d think that I’d do well with birding by ear, but it’s a challenge.

Just need to keep at it!

The stick idea is a good one

– Last Updated: Jun-26-12 11:52 AM EST –

I often stick a canoe paddle into the mud and hold it lightly against the gunwale with one hand while pausing to observe, so it makes sense that having "the right tool for the job" would be the way to go when you need both hands for binoculars, camera, or field guide. It takes very little anchoring force to hold the boat, so simpler is better.

It’s funny
to think that the “right tool for the job” is a “stick in the mud”!

Could have another use, too
Clamp your camera (or its tripod’s QR-mount) to a solidly-stuck stick. Presto! You’d have a monopod that’s as stable as a tripod. At least, I think you would; I should try this one myself.