New Year's Day Birding with the Brookline Bird Club
Posted by Don Crockett on March 21, 2012
I spent New Year's Day "birding" with the Brookline Bird Club on a trip led by Laura de la Flor and Mark Burns. I put birding in quotes because although I did some birding I spent a good part of the day shooting panoramic images and video of the birding activities and only a part of the time videoing birds. I've included a video of Laura and Mark discussing the history of the trip, panoramic images of the impressive spotting scope contingent that assembled at Salisbury Beach, a video that proves that there are people crazier than birders, and a peaceful sunset video.
Toward the end of the day I cornered Laura and Mark at the platfrom near Emerson Rocks and asked them a few questions about the Brookline Bird Club's New Year's Day Birding Trip.
Salisbury Beach was the 2nd major birding stop after looking for Barnacle Goose and Cassin's Kingbird at Cherry Hill Reservoir in Newbury. I got to talking to an old friend in the parking lot and so by time I actually got to the beach an impressive line of birders with their scopes had formed. As soon as I saw the line I thought it would make for an interesting panoramic image. The only "staging" I did with the image was to get a handful of people on the right side of the image to move forward a little so they wouldn't be blocked by people to the left of them. I then told people that I was ready to take the image and joked "Just act like you know what you're doing!"
Salisbury Beach Spotting Scope Contingent: High Resolution 120° Panoramic Image
Hard as it may be to believe, there are people with crazier hobbies than birders and the following video provides proof.
As I was shooting the panoramic image of the line of birders with their scopes on Salisbury Beach I noticed that there were people in bathing suits assembling a little further down the beach getting ready to do a polar bear plunge. It was a warm day for January, being close to 50 degrees, but the water was still close to freezing. Birders will bear some pretty extreme conditions in the pursuit of birds in the winter but we don't strip down and jump into near freezing water. Now that's crazy :) !
I shot some video as the polar bears ran to jump in the water. The footage could have been better but I had the panning head and the fixed wide angle lens for the panoramic images on so it made it difficult to follow the action. I walked over to the group after they came out of the water thinking I might shoot some video of them answering some questions. I listened to them for a while but I chickened out about asking questions and headed back to my car. On the way I ran into this guy joining the polar bears with this incredible flamingo hat on in addition to various other ensemble decorations. I stopped him and told him "I have seen a lot of birds but you are the coolest bird I have ever seen!" He said "You need to tell my wife that." I told him I wanted to interview him but that I needed to get another lens for my camera. I came back and shot the interview footage in the video above.
Although I say they're crazy, the polar bear plungers share similarities with birders. They have a comraderie formed from years of shared experiences and they're not afraid of suffering a little in pursuit of their goals.
To end the day I shot some video of the sky at sunset with a wind turbine as an object of focus. If you watch the video you'll see why something of the experience would have been missed if this was a still image instead of a video.
If You Get the Chance You Should Go
I had gone on the New Year's Day Birding Trip once prior to this year's trip. Both times I've gone I've had a great time. It's a great way to start off the birding year both with the birding and with the socializing. I highly recommend it for birders looking for something to do on New Year's Day.
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