As is my usual M.O., I've taken up a "new" hobby of birding/hiking/nature photography over the past few months.
Since I do everything backwards, I ended up doing this when I became a recipient of a better camera.
Before, I owned a Canon point and shoot, which is good, but not suitable for photographing birds and so forth.
Over Christmas break, I was at home when I dropped my camera and broke the lens. My dad gave me his old camera, which was better quality than my old.
After I returned home, I decided that it was time to visit one of the numerous local birding sites. I chose one that offered free tours of the grounds and set out.
That was in January.
Now, I own "real" hiking boots, khaki pants, binoculars, and a mini backpack.
I'm not sure where I'll go with it. So far, my thought is to try and visit every last birding preserve here until I'm run out of dodge.
What I've discovered are a few things:
I'm vaguely reminded of my childhood and my tendency to hide in the back yard.
I think I would make an excellent hunter.
I've hiked with someone else and I realized that I did a much better job of noticing what was going on. Well, he is a guy, and he's more into the aspect of hiking for exercise so that is understandable. But then I went to some of these places and ran into people who seem to be greater enthusiasts than I am, but I seem to pick up on the sounds and so forth before they do.
The twittering of a hummingbird. The appearance of a green jay. I'll ask what that is, but they have to stop and listen to figure out what I'm talking about.
Today, I spotted a hummingbird, chachalaca, and other birds that my cohorts did not notice right off the bat.
Of course, the irony of this is that I'm vegetarian.
And, thanks to sharply increased stamina, weight loss, and proper footwear, I'm lasting a good while on the trails.
In essence, I'm having a "big year." Unofficially declared, I will be keeping this up for quite some time until I find a new job.
I must say that I enjoy skulking about. I've grown to where I listen more instead of watch, so I listen for tweets, fluttering, and crackles of underbrush before I slow down and creep silently around the corner before I find the offender. It's like having some sort of nerd war game.
The whole experience has been good for me because I'm not simply sitting at home on the weekends or visiting the same tired walking areas.