Yes, Buffleheads are cool. Buffleheads were my first favorite bird. There was a Bufflehead decoy in my grandfather’s house on Beach Haven on the Jersey Shore, and when I was about four I was struck by its puffy black head and striking white crown-patch, and even more intrigued when I learned that these small ducks swam in the sea. Up until then I thought all ducks were pond-bound.
Buffleheads are the smallest of diving sea ducks and live along lakes and bays. They nest in tree cavities, which I always thought was the best place to live if I were a bird. Not to knock hummocks, bushes, rocky ledges on steep and lethal cliffs, but nothing beats a dry cozy tree cavity on a cold rainy night when owls and fishers are about.
However, I’m not a bird and can’t float comfortably in the sea and then take to the air when it suits me, and I sure as heck can’t curl up in a tree trunk cavity (they’d need one of those tools for pulling people from wrecks to pry me out when it was time to forage), so the next best thing I can do is look at birds and learn about them and enjoy their wild presence. Those who can’t fly or swoop into tree cavities, stare through binoculars.
Since my first Bufflehead encounter beneath the TV table in Beach Haven I’ve had other favorite birds – eagles, crows, screech-owls, and mourning doves, and when I moved out to Colorado, Black-billed magpies, gray jays, and yes, turkey Vultures.
I’ve been an on and off birder most of my life. I usually maintained a repertoire of bird species I could ID but always seemed to slide around those Little Brown Birds and tricky warblers like rushing water around rocks. I always meant to get serious about birding and learn those little guys…when I had more time.
Well, I’m getting older and I don’t need to be rushing past rocks, so I’ve picked up my binocs and am getting to know birds again.
The great thing about birding is that it’s something I can do in solitude or in the company of other birders. When I want the companionship of other birders I go on bird walks with family and friends, or on longer field trips with some of the clubs I’ve joined.
And when I want some solitude and quality time with just me and the natural world I engage in some digiscoping. This addictive activity has added a new dimension to birding and to my weekends.
Meanwhile, this blog is a great way for me to express the fun I am having with birds and nature. Hope you enjoy it as well.