Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Breaking Records or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Patch or: A Pedestrian's Guide to the Unspectacular Birdlife of Yards Park, DC

In patch birding, it's all relative.  You're not after huge numbers, you're not expecting rarities. Instead, it's about really knowing a place, and learning its rhythms.  When you're stuck with a patch long enough, you learn to love it no matter how few birds there are.

And there aren't a lot of birds on my patch, Yards Park along the Anacostia River in DC. It's where I walk my dog most every day after work. Despite running along a big ol' river and featuring at least some greenery, I've only managed 62 species despite visiting a few times a week for a year and a half.  I dunno, that's not a tiny number, but it's less than I could get on a decent spring day at a park just up the river. (Also, it's enough to make me the hotspot leader by about 30 species).

But it's what I've got, you know?  And I love it. I especially love it on days like yesterday, a gray and dreary afternoon where I somehow beat my previous dog walking record and saw 17 different species.  Check out that list!  The clincher was a solo mourning dove that cruised overhead when I was back on South Capitol Street, almost home. My dog had no idea what I was yelling about.

Anyway, in honor of my record-breaking afternoon I made a quick. annotated bird finding guide to Yards Park. It's oriented South to North, which is the way I walk it, but it's a little confusing that way. It's displaying small, but you can click to enlarge. Or you can just not do that, and go on with your life.


Patch Davis said...

Hello Nick!
You seem so apologetic about your humble patch! I find magic everywhere! I don't just list, I love
learning the local "characters" and keeping track of them. "Nothing any good" in the trees? I guess
as you are passing through, your time is limited--where you are life moves more urgently than here
in southwest Florida. That my name is Patch is a coincidence--a contraction of my unmarried name,
Pat Chapman. I found your blog from the ABA. I'm sure I'll be checking back more frequently now!
Bird On-

Greg M. said...

This is great. I also really like that your local patch includes a battleship.

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