The Treehugging Outdoorsman

Birding Destination
April 26, 2007, 10:30 pm
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birdingIf you decide to go on a vacation exclusive for birdwatching, any destination can lead to sightings of new and unusual birds.Birds such as songbirds, hummingbirds, finches and seabirds are remarkably adaptable so it can pretty much be found everywhere. Finding birds is essential and so I provided some popular birding spots that would be helpful to anyone who are into birdwatching.

Big parks, particularly those that has a varied landscaping can be a good place to start looking. Public gardens and arboretums offer the same thing so are riverside walkways and mountainside trails. If you’re an avid hiker, you can also catch or identify birds as you go along the trek. In addition, city parks offer a pretty interesting site for avid birders as one can find new and exciting species in these places. Take the Central Park in New York City as a great example. It is home to some 100 species of birds throughout the year, migratory birds not included. See, every place may be a unique home for some species of birds so no worries in not finding any birds to


Identifying Birds
April 25, 2007, 10:37 pm
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If you’re a newbie in birdwatching, the first questions in your mind will also be “what was that?” or “what kind of bird is that?” That’s normal actually. If for example you are watching in your backyard or a nearby park, let the bird come to you. Do not go chasing them around as this will only disturb them and you will not get your chance to observe and study them enough to identify them. Most people look and identify birds first with their color and size. There may be a blue bird, a little brown bird or perhaps a red bird. Some may goes on saying that they spotted hawks but what kind of hawk? Coopers? Red-tailed hawk or a merlin?

This is where the guide books come in. Every birders must have a bird guide book in their side always for identification purposes especially if you’re unsure of what you’re seeing. Guide books will tell you some unique identifying marks to look for in a bird. Don’t forget to bring a highlighter to highlight the birds you see and when you saw them cos it might be useful for you or others someday. With over 800 species of birds in Northern America, that’s a lot to cover for an individual birder.

Birdwatching Gear
April 22, 2007, 10:39 pm
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binocularsIf you’ve only just begun birding, you don’t really need much except your keen eyes. A binoculars would be very helpful though in identifying different species of birds. It’s a must in identifying small characteristics of birds and having binoculars will help make the observations easier. A compact, lightweight and waterproof models can be very valuable to every birders. A digital camera with a zoom capability can be very helpful too in capturing observations for identification purposes. At least you can take it home and from there, you can take notes about it from your desktop.

Which brings me to the next thing you’ll need in birdwatching: Journal. It is an essential for every birders as every observations found will be noted in here. The bird’s habitat, behavior, voice and other important facts you’ll need to help identify the species of bird. this is where you’ll constantly put your checklist of different species to serve and guide as your comprehensive life list. The outfit will also follow, although anything can be worn, don’t forget your hiking boots as some trips might lead you in marshes or areas with wet or damp climates.

April 21, 2007, 9:55 pm
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A lot of people seems to have found a new interest in birding lately. I used to remember that this hobby are for father’s activities only, they go out on a weekend, say they’ll go bird watching or hunting. Now I’m beginning to see the emerging importance and having a bit interest in birdwatching. Recently, I joined a certain team in their birdwatching session to try and see what’s the deal with this hobby. I actually enjoyed it, aside from meeting a lot of new people whose interests in birds range from nothing to almost an obsession.

So why go birding? Birds are everywhere. You don’t have to travel far to see them, they can be in your background, neighborhood park, cemetery or even the nearest land fill. If you like traveling, even better because camping trips are way to see new birds that you don’t normally get to see in your local area. There are tons of birds to watch so it is interesting as different seasons bring different sets of birds to watch out for. It’s a fun way to learn about science, nature and our environment too so the next time somebody asks you about this topic at least you have something to tell them now!

The California Museum

I love going to the museums. Modern, natural, boring, fun, everything in between museum, name it, I’ll surely go for it anytime of the day. I like the silence and the brooding atmosphere in museums. One Tuesday afternoon I decided to go in the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts and and boy was I surprised to find out that I practicaly have the place by myself. It was so much fun plus I can take pictures, just no flash, and wander for as long as I wanted.

It showcases the history of California from a variety of perspectives. California Hall of Fame is neat place for all the inspirational heroes and artifacts. In here you can see Clint Eastwood’s 4 Oscars, Hewlett Packard set up shop that helped give birth to Silicon Valley, a racket that Billie Jean King used when she won Wimbledon and a lot more. There’s also the oral histories and documentaries of emigrants from other states and countries to California including Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants. All in all, it was a pleasant and educational trip for me.

The Boardwalk

Claimed to be the “Coney Island of the West”, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been a popular destination for more than a hundred years now with a variety of rides to choose from. For numerous summer afternoons, as far as I can remember, I’ve gone to the Boardwalk either with my family or friends to try the rides, play arcade games, eat cotton candies or corndogs. Fred Swanton built the Boardwalk at the start of twentieth century with Neptune’s Casino as his first project. On June 22, 1906 though, just less than two years after its opening, the casino was engulfed in a big fire that started at the kitchen.

This did not deter Swanton into building another one months after, so in June 1907, a Boardwalk, pier and new casino was opened. Favorite rides are the Loof carousel and Giant Dipper although I liked the Cave train Adventure because of the glow-in-the-dark train. Did you know that the Boardwalk has been used for some famous films such as The Lost Boys, Sudden Impact and Dangerous Minds? Me neither.

John Muir Trail

john muir trailJohn Muir Trail is a 211 miles long distance trail that begins in Yosemite Valley, follows the Sierra Nevada south spine and ends in the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest continental peak in the continental US. It was named after the naturalist John Muir who helped preserve the wilderness of United States by writing letters, essays and books about his various adventures specifically in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trail was created with a $10,000 grant in 1915, a year after Muir’s death.

This trail attracts a large number of hikers around the world because of the spectacular hiking scenery. Best season to go hiking is from July to September because there is less likelihood of snow in the trail except of course on the higher passes. Be sure to pack right. Camping and water is readily available although some restrictions may still apply. There are no services found in the trail but Toulumne Meadows, Red’s Meadows, Vermillion Valley Resort and Muir Trail Ranch are nearby resupply options in case of emergency.