I had the opportunity to host several kayak tours as part of the recent Delmarva Birding Weekend sponsored by Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences, DLITE. I am an avid paddler and enjoy observing all the birds and wildlife on my trips, but I am definitely a novice when it comes to birding. Delmarva Birding Weekend provided me with a great opportunity to meet and learn from some very experienced birders. It also allowed for me to provide many birders with a view of the birds from a different perspective. It was a great experience all around.
From my perspective I developed a much greater appreciation for the dedication of serious birders. Their ability to identify all the various bird-calls is pretty amazing as is their ability to spot a tiny bird hiding in the tree tops. Being a birder means some serious commitment to study and observation. I really enjoyed learning from Dave Wilson of Maryland Coastal Bays who accompanied us on a sunrise paddle as well as from many of the other birders who joined our tours. I now find myself paying much closer attention to the bird calls and scanning the treetops and the brush for the song birds I have always heard, but rarely saw.
For several birders on my trips it was their first opportunity to bird by kayak. They found it to be a great way to get a “good look on” many birds that they don’t often see. Birding by kayak provided them with a very peaceful environment to float through the woods with ample time to observe. Some wooded areas are difficult to hike into, but traveling by kayak allows you to float and paddle along creeks and streams winding through the woods. The setting is beautiful with the branches forming a canopy overhead and a prime spot for birding.
I hope to continue to improve my birding skills throughout the year as I will be spending most days on the creek. I am looking forward to next year’s Delmarva Birding Weekend to once again share some paddles with my birding friends and to further my own education from their vast experience.