December 2017

Vol. 45, No. 6

Musings from the Blind Birder: Travel

Martha Steele

The author with her dog  Alvin, staring at a Spruce Grouse. Photograph by Bob Stymeist.

As another New England winter approaches, many birders turn their attention to distant and warmer domestic and international birding destinations. As a birder, you have likely done a lot of traveling and your destinations have been carefully chosen to maximize your opportunities to see the most species possible or your specific target species.

I am often struck by conversations shared in the field that include stories from recent travels. Although sometimes there may be heard a tinge of boasting on the part of the traveler, most often the stories are fun or fascinating. Among the dozens of birding trips that I have taken around the world, some memories stand out, and they often do not focus specifically on birds. I will not soon forget, for example, a late afternoon effort in Tanzania with our safari vehicle to guide a lone young wildebeest back to its herd. We drove slowly, cajoling the youngster to follow us until we eventually found the herd. We cheered and clapped as we watched the little one run to its mates. It is certainly possible that the wildebeest would have found its way back on its own but that did not dampen our spirits over the rescue effort.

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