I have watched birds since my mid twenties but in a sort of desultory way. I had binoculars and kept a list but I was a lazy birder in that when it came to really putting in the work and adopting the discipline needed to distinguish between different pipits, warblers, shorebirds etc, I would have a little lie down instead.
Today I had the great privilege of going a birding with the real thing – Tom and Dan two top-level birders.
They take me to the Kin paddy fields. It was bliss. Read Tom’s summary.
“Dan Smith flew in from Yokosuka last night so we decided on a birding foray to the Kin Town paddies this morning, We met up Neil Calder, a relatively new birder living on island, who hails from Scotland. In his words, “What a fantastic morning at Kin!” We ticked 18 species of waders to include:
Green Sandpiper (2 @ Yakka paddies)
Other birds of note: 10-Eastern Spot-billed Duck; 2-FOS Eurasian Teal; 1-CHINESE POND HERON; 20-Whiskered Tern; 2-FOS Brown Shrike (1 @ Yakka); 200+ Barn Swallow; and 20+-Eastern Yellow Wagtail.”
The capitals indicate seriously rare birds.
You get the idea.
I get 4 hours of excited concentration in hot paddy fields thronged with birds and occasional industrious Okinawans doing stuff to rice and tarot. Exotic.
Tom and Dan were perfect company, patient with my ignorance and generous with their vast knowledge. Thank you