Birding Trails

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When I first encountered the term “Birding Trail,” a mental image flashed into my mind of a migrating flock trudging down the road, heading south with their suitcases tightly grasped in their wings. Turns out that wasn’t quite right.

Birding trails are actually comprised of a series of birding hotspots (places where birds are known to congregate)  connected by a driving route. You pick up the map, hop in the car, and set off on your birding adventure.

Texas started the whole idea several years ago with the establishment of the Texas Coastal Birding Trail. A special map marks out the route, and signs along the highway indicate where to pull over, take a break, and look for birds. The concept is so popular that half the states have followed suit, and birding trails abound.

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Birding Burnt Mill Road

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Patrick, Cyndy (in back), Gary and Jeannie

My birding trip this past weekend reads just like a novel… with goals to be achieved, suspense and uncertainty, good times, and a climatic ending.

I woke two minutes before my alarm was set to go off, groped in the dark for my glasses, and crawled from beneath the covers, shivering as my feet hit the floor. It will be worth it, I told myself. It always is.

Forty minutes later I was on the interstate heading south. The car was loaded with my camera and accessories, scope and tripod, binos, ID books, water lunch, and snacks. The sun, still below the horizon, was just turning the tips of the mountains pink, while the dissipating mist hung like golden glitter in the air. What a beautiful morning!

Reaching our rendezvous point, I joined six other birders as we piled into two cars and headed south again. My primary goal for the day was to enjoy God’s creation and have fun. I was also hoping to take at least one photo I would be happy with. And, there was the possibility of seeing a new bird. While my life list isn’t all that long, I don’t get new birds very often, especially near home. The advertised list of possible species had included a couple I’d never seen, and I was really hoping one would show up.

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