Being a grandfather who got into birding late in life, it’s a treat to see at least two of my grandchildren become fledgling birders. Our oldest, Mac, was up from Massachusetts with his mom for Thanksgiving. He caught the birding bug during a a birder camp this summer at North Branch Nature Center. He and Jen have done a few outings at home and this afternoon, Mac and I went out for a short trip.
One of the things I’m learning about youth birding is that attention spans are different with kids — in fact the leaders at camp this summer interspersed many games with the kids which were as popular as the birding. Short outings, especially if the birding is spotty, work well.
We went up to Berlin Pond. During the drive, I was looking for birds in the trees while Mac played some game on his iPhone. I decided to chill out – we’d bird when we got there.
I had been there doing a little scouting this morning but many of the waterfowl had headed out this afternoon. Even so, it was great. We could see Hooded Mergansers as we parked the truck and we watched them through binoculars and the scope. What’s not to like about a Hoodie? I brought out the camera and fitted it on the scope and took a few shots.
Mac was intrigued — he’d never seen digiscoping before. I had him get on a group on American Black Ducks and set the camera on for him. He fired off a few shots and loved it. His shot is better than mine — what can I say?
We trudged down to where I had hoped to see some geese but aside from a Bufflehead, it was rather empty. He didn’t care, the Hoodies had made the day. A small flight of Canada Geese came right over us as we walked back to the truck to sort of complete the outing. Half an hour or so, six species, but a great outing. Mac lives right near Parker River Wildlife Refuge and I look forward to many future outings with him.