Trust Yourself

Posted by Jane N on

Hello Everyone,
Well it, has been a while since I had a chance to get out and do some birding. We, for some crazy reason decided to take on the job of repainting the whole inside of the house and that has taken up every spare minute for nearly a month. This past Saturday we finally put away all the painting tools and called the job done! So I was anxious to get out to Plum Island and do some birding, even thou I know this time of year there is little out there to see. My Big Year ends December 31st so I'm really scrambling to add to my totals. The day was clear, temps near 40, not too windy.
As usual, there were other birders on the island and plenty of interesting birds to see. But not anything new to me so far. Like moosing in Pittsburg I, always watch for cars pulled over or groups of people as a hint that some one has spotted something good. I often eaves drop on others conversations about their sightings or out right ask them what they're looking at. I don't always trust myself to identify sea birds, they still confuse me. Birders are more than happy to share their spotting scope with me or help me locate a good sighting.
There was a group of birders with scopes set up watching some birds on the rocks. I could see them with my binos but not really well. I asked one of the guys what kind of birds were those sitting out on the rocks of the jetty. He told me Rock Sandpipers. I was amazed! These birds belong in Alaska and winter along the western coast what were they doing here? I thanked him for the info but was just not sure, I strained to picked out any good field marks on the small flock sitting on the rocks. I walked away ready to count them as a very rare sighting. I figured with the nice fancy equipment that guy had he must know what he was talking about.
Further along the beach I came upon a group of birders gathered on the viewing platform with scopes set up and everyone was very excited. I asked one person what was sighted and he told me a small group of Western Grebes were just off shore feeding. What!? Western Grebes here in New England? I just wasn't sure about what I was looking at through my binoculars, a man offered his scope for me to get a closer look. They sure did look like Western Grebes, even if it didn't make sense for them to be here. I walked away ready to count them as a new sighting.
I thought about it all the way home, I was pretty confidant that those were Western Grebes but I wasn't so sure about the Rock Sandpipers. I always doubt myself, especially when I don't have anyone to “confer & confirm” my sightings with. I looked through all my field guides and it made more sense that they could have been Purple Sandpipers (which are not purple) not Rock Sandpipers. But I just didn't trust myself to make the call. So I'm not counting the sighting, I know none of you would challenge my sighting but it's like cheating at solitaire. Why bother?
I need to learn to trust my own abilities to identify the birds I see instead of looking for outside confirmation. Theres not much time left to add to my list but I'll be more confidant with my sightings and be sure to let you all know what my final Big Year total is.
Current Big Year Total...........................236
Happy Birding, Jane

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