Thursday, January 8, 2009


I'm a birder.
Up until this moment, I only considered myself a "spotter" as in one who spots objects in the sky with wings, or even as simply as a warm body on bird trips. But I believe I now can honestly say I'm a birder. I have a book, binoculars, and lately I've been getting up very early to catch the morning bird show. And I identified a juvenile ibis! I'm not sure whether it was male or female but the juvenile identification made me feel like I was really something!
It reminds me of when I timidly would call myself a fiber artist. After so many years of introducing myself as a teacher, I not only had to drop one script but take on a new one. It takes awhile for new identities to take hold, at least for me. So just to give myself a little practice, I'll try it again...I'm a birder!
Mazatlan has now participated in two Audubon Bird Counts. In the first one held a year ago, I joined in with some visiting birder friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. There were 22 of us, and collectively we spotted 105 species. Our group traveled along a local estuary and was led by John Audubon himself- at least it seemed like it. In this year's count (two weeks ago), I signed up without any friends prompting me, still felt like a "spotter" ("there's a yellow bird"), and was one of 16 who spotted 92 species. I loved it! And just last Sunday, my friend, Val and I traveled to the estuary again for another stint. It was then and there I discovered my friend, the juvenile ibis.
Mazatlan is also beginning to develop its eco-tourism and birding is one strong side of this. An offshoot of this is the organization of the first Mazatlan Bird Festival to be held next weekend. There is a full venue of bird events, starring, along with other local birds, the tufted jay. There are workshops and field trips and art exhibits and conferences. I am happy to see this focus on more of the natural side of Mazatlan, rather than the Jimmy Buffetized version of my winter homeland. For more info on the Bird Festival, go to My new interest in birds has also extended to my fiber work. This summer I did a piece featuring a pajaro carpintero (red-headed sapsucker or woodpecker) and thoroughly enjoyed this new subject matter. Now I've continued on with more birds...a meadowlark, a heron....the possibilities are endless! But I'm seriouosly thinking of the blue footed booby for a future's those brilliant blue feet I find so intriguing!

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