This summer I am going to the Audubon Society camp on Hog Island for session 1, which was something I had hoped to do since I found out about it about a year and a half ago and have been excited about since I signed up in Mid-November. One of the requirements for the camp before going was writing an essay about your most important day in the outdoors (for me it was my most important birding day). This is the essay:
My most important birding day
My most important birding day was on December 5, 2015, almost a year after I had started birding.It was the day of my first birdwalk at Ballona Wetlands. In the days preceding the walk and the minutes before the start of the walk I feared that I wouldn’t be accepted in the ranks of the more experienced and hardcore birdwatchers and viewed as a simple beginner who would only hold down the group. When the walk started my expectations were blown away and I was overwhelmed with tips and locations to write down in my notebook by the older birdwatchers, who, rather than being hostile when I might of accidentally flushed out a nearby finch, instead laughed it off as a simple mistake saying, “ don’t worry, it was just a sparrow, there’ll be more of ‘em,” then pointing out in a scope a kingfisher I had previously missed (a lifer at the time). That day I also received tips on cleaning optics, setting a dioptre, getting closer to birds without spooking them, and even a location near Anaheim where white headed woodpeckers had recently been seen (That time i missed out on them but i recently knocked them off my list in Mount San Jacinto SP during a backpacking trip). The reason that day was so important to me was because before that day I had made no connections with the birding community because I didn’t know how friendly everyone was, so that day was the day I learned just how open and welcoming the birding community is through firsthand experience with the new birds a being just a wonderful bonus to that day.
This is an unedited version of what I sent in. I am still working on getting everything together for my post on the Oregon Bird Festival trip so it may not come out for a while, as I am still updating my lifelist and notebook entries.