Birding - With A Bad Attitude
This website is incomplete including this page.
A couple years ago we made it our mission to get out of the bordem of our area's total lack of culture. So we dove into nature, got into birding, and we looked for any stop along the way that was unexpected or interesting.
And we found out that there is a lot of out there but you're going to have to look very hard. While searching for information to help us plan trips and learn some birding skills we tended to run into frustration. Most everything is written like a press release or by a 20 year veteran who skips the difficult first steps you take while starting out.
For hiking trails the problem was that everything is written up as some variant of "Great". I agree that it is great to have any trail but if you need to pick 4 to visit out of 20 available on a trip - they aren't all equal. You can make any empty field sound amazing if you call it an upland prairie and list off every oddball bird or animal seen at least once. And similarly with photographs - everyone likes to take pretty pictures. You tend to see 100 pictures of that old suspension bridge by the creek but none of the 1/2 mile hike along a highway to get to it. On top of that everyone has different priorities - some trails stink but you're guaranteed to see this one weird bird. Some people aren't interested if it's not a half day in the sun, some can't handle rough terrain because their bad knee.
Regarding birding and hiking skills - it seems like there are two kinds of birders. We like to spot new birds by going into the woods at promising spots and seeing what we run into without a lot of gear. Another kind of birder is the one who carries a five figure $$$ camera with a 2 foot lens, they walk as little as possible, they tend to hang out in the same spots, and they're trying to get a perfect photo to put on certain birding sites after stamping a copyright notice half the size of the photo over them*. You guys can go f$#k yourselves. Just kidding - but seriously most things you see written about the complex task of birding is catered to people who forgot it was hard to learn to take a picture of a warbler or to figure out what birds are what and when. Or for general hiking people forget that having a zoomed in photo of poison ivy's three leaves means nothing when you hold that up to the backdrop of a forest's 1 million leaves. Empathy and a little context please. Everything is simple after you've learned it once and after doing this for 20 years you forget what was once difficult.
So - we decided to have a "bad attitude" and be sure to list the different kinds of bad along with the different kinds of good, show pictures that represented the experience, and to try to capture this point in time where we worked hard to learn new skills and are still excited enough to want to share them. Messages from experts are greatly appreciated however - please let us know if we're getting anything wrong.
Also anyone (ranger etc) who tries to mark trails or just keep them open with micro state and municipal budgets - one million thanks, please take any criticisms as an "FYI - this is what it's like if you've new here".
* Sorry for our watermarks - if it was the internet of 10 years ago they wouldn't be there - Click the copyright link on any page for info.