Ah, I could get used to this life of covering myself in the most powerful SPF available, wearing skimpy clothing and laying on a beach watching the birds go by. Does birding get anymore decadent than watching families of osprey, brown pelicans and terns dive bomb into the water for fish? Non Birding Bill and I never tire of making airplane crashing sounds while watching the osprey and brown pelicans hurl themselves onto the ocean's surface. The terns are like watching little paper airplanes flinging themselves on the water, almost looking like they collapse as soon as they hit.
We took the tram from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to False Cape State Park today. It's about the only organized birding trip I can ever find here this time of year. The trip I guess is meant to just take people from one park to a very remote park and not really supposed to be strictly birding. However, there was a fellow birder on this tram and I figured between the two of us we'd be able to get the tram to stop for any good birds. We did, but the volunteer driver seemed a tad irritated with us. When we made him stop the second time for a marsh full of snowy egrets, little blue herons and glossy ibis he snidely remarked, "You know, you should really be on a birding trip if you want to watch birds." The fellow birder asked where those trips were because she had called the Office of Tourism for the area and they had directed her to Back Bay. I replied that I searched for trips and couldn't find any. The driver remarked that we should really be here in the winter. GRRRR.
My argument was that due to family commitments and gatherings some of us visit the Virginia Beach area in mid-summer and for those of us who don't live here ibis and herons are a little exciting. We stopped for snakes, why couldn't we stop for birds?
He then said we should have called Audubon and I said, "We did, no one offers bird tours here so we have to do what we can with you."
It's not easy finding birding for out of staters in Virginia. Last year, Non Birding Bill and I tried to hire someone who offered "bird boat trips" around Chincoteague. I realized as the boat left that we were in trouble when he pointed to a bird and said, "reddish egret" and it was quite obviously a little blue heron. He passed sand bar after sand bar with birds on them and when I point them out he would say, "Oops, I forgot I was supposed to stop there." I give the guy credit, he was a fishing guide who probably had heard that there is money to be made from birding trips, but he needs to be sure to know the birds if he wants to go birding on his own.