You all know that I'm at UC Berkeley! Berkeley is amazing. I'm enjoying college immensely. My classes are interesting, my room/floor/classmates are awesome, I have somehow stayed on top of all of my homework, and there are lots of cool organizations to get involved in. As you can imagine, all of this crazy excitement is very time-consuming. I've had to choose between writing essays, going to meetings, eating, and - you guessed it - birding. It's such a bummer!! Every time I walk to class, I can hear the sparrows, warblers, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds around me. But I haven't sat down and watched one in so long. Grrrr!
I may not have been birding, but I have been doing lots of other cool stuff around birds! Let me give you a quick highlights reel:
- The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley (which is So Stupendous, you guys) accepts around 150 undergraduate students to volunteer in the museum every semester, and.......... yes, I signed up! My position is "Pest Detective," which means my partner and I will be going through the collections, making sure no pests have sneaked in and damaged the specimens, and if any pests have squeaked into the drawers, we will 'take care' of them. (Kill them. We're going to kill them. In case you didn't get my cute little euphemism.) This is so exciting! I'll be working with the specimens themselves! They have so many mind-blowingly awesome specimens..... They have Ivory-billed Woodpeckers!
|I'll see if I can get better photos of the specimens through-out the semester!|
- As far as I can tell, there are no birding clubs on campus. (Booo!) But someone is starting a Wildlife Society! From what I understand, this society will organize hikes, volunteering events at nature areas, maybe bird-watching walks... The first meeting is this Wednesday, and I can't wait to see what this society will be like!
- Remember the fire trails to the canyon behind my dorm? I hiked there again last weekend, and saw a couple of birds! It was too late in the morning for proper birding. But my friend and I did see some of the more common Berkeley birds.
- This past Thursday, I saw my lifer Townsend's Warbler on campus! I was walking from my literature class to the library when I heard an interesting call in a pine tree. I stood right under the tree and waited for a glimpse of the bird (earning many weird glances from passersby on the path.) The bird showed itself immediately! It was hopping from sunlit branch to sunlit branch, occasionally flying up to peck at the underside of branches. What a gorgeous bird! The stripes on its flanks were gorgeously crisp, its head and chest were stunningly yellow. I didn't have my camera with me, but I did sketch it after the sighting! ... Not that it's a very accurate sketch. Shh.
- Speaking of new/exciting birds, the White-crowned Sparrows have returned to California!!! I saw my FOS ("first of season") White-crowns on Oct 4, just over a week ago. What a lovely sign of the upcoming winter. Now, of course, I'm getting pangs for my wildlife areas back home... The Northern Pintails will be back soon... Oh no, so will the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese!! Ahhhh! I'm going to miss seeing them all!
- And everywhere I go, I sport this lovely badge. I got this patch at the Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference. It reminds me of all the lovely people I've met through birding, not just at the MAYBC, but at Camp Colorado, and back home at the Yolo Audubon Society. I love y'all.
I don't know how often I'll be updating... College is so crazy. Hopefully I can go birding more often, which means photos and stories more often for you guys! Until we meet again, happy birding!