Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birding at the McAlpine Creek Greenway

I went on my very first group bird walk this past Saturday!

The McAlpine Creek Greenway, located on Monroe Road is one of the birding hotspots in Charlotte. Led by expert birders Sally and Sue, I saw at least 30 species of birds in a short span of 2 and a half hours! More than I can ever hope to see sitting by my window, watching my bird feeder!

The McAlpine Creek Greenway is a mix of open fields, wooded areas and marshland so there's a whole variety of birds to see! Plus Sally and Sue are so experienced they know exactly where to look for which birds. I added at least 15 new species to my life list, including the Great Egret, the Ruddy Duck, Red-shouldered Hawk and a Red-headed woodpecker!

Yes, I have a life list.

Every serious birder has a life list to keep track of the very first time he or she identifies a new bird. So far I have 48 birds on my list. I get butterflies in my tummy when I spot a new one. Every time I catch sight of a new bird, I have the urge to run and get my guide. In the beginning, I was always busy flipping through the guide, searching online, trying to find the bird that I only caught a glimpse of, without looking hard enough. As a result, sometimes I am unable to tell apart the more similar looking birds. With more experience, I now try to identify the unique markings on the bird before I feel I'm informed enough to rifle through the guide to identify the bird.

I thought I might have showed up at the bird walk a little too eager and over-prepared. I was the only one out of 10 birders to be equipped with a pair of binoculars, a guidebook, a notepad, a rain jacket and gloves! Turns out I had to use them all! Except for the rain jacket, it was a beautiful sunny day! But even Sally and Sue had to turn to my guide book once to confirm a rare sighting. I was beaming with pride at the end of the walk when they shook my hand and told me I am going to be a very good birder! What a teacher's pet! :P

I was sorry I didn't take pictures on my walk. What with the binoculars and the guide book and the notepad, I almost wished I had an extra pair of hands. Flipping through the pages of the guide was also extremely annoying with gloves on!

I started a Pinterest board for birding, feel free to look through and I hope you will pay a little extra attention to the creatures in your surroundings from time to time!

This weekend I'm dragging the J-man to the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve for another birding adventure!

Happy weekend ahead!


  1. I have interest in birds too but only illustrated ones. I guess I don't have the patience to go spotting them. The only birds I can spot are mynah, sparrow, dove, pigeon, egret, parrot, owl, blue bird, yellow bird and Big Bird.

  2. I love birds! I have a guide, but mostly watch them from my back door. Thanks to my IBird Explorer App, I've learned to identify a few by their song. Maybe next time bring a camera so we can see your beautiful finds!


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