|Carolina wren, Cape May (Margo D. Beller)|
However, standing up, going to the screen door to find this wren and seeing a rubythroated hummingbird fly to the feeder for the first time in days is pure chance.
Chance is why birdwatchers go out into the field and look for birds in even the worst weather. We may go to a specific place we know or have read about, but when we get there we have little idea of what we will find.
|How not to do a park - undeveloped area of Central Park|
of Morris County (Margo D. Beller)
Unlike what is now the Central Park of Morris County, this park, run by neighboring Somerset County, features a paved hiking trail. There is also a scenic overlook of a brook featuring a paved platform and two benches. It is very well done (unlike the Morris County park where the land where the Kirkbride building once stood is empty, overgrown and just sits there, useless unless you like off-trail bushwhacking, which MH and I do not).
We walked the trail and the environment suits the habits of many of the birds I'd expect to find in a park - chipping sparrows, field sparrows, goldfinches, bluebirds, robins, catbirds, Carolina wren, cedar waxwings. At the overlook I found, a great egret, a great blue heron and redwinged blackbird.
|Marsh wren, Bombay Hook, 2017|
Pure chance it was there or that I had heard it.
This is why we go out, searching for the chance to find a bird where we may or may not expect it.
The "rare" or unusual reported bird could be migrating north in spring or south in autumn, which may be why the marsh wren was in the park. Or perhaps an unusual bird got blown off course and now it is in an area completely foreign to it, at least until global warming brings the ocean to my back door. A storm forces ocean birds to an inland lake. A western bird or even one from Europe shows up on the wrong coast.
An Allen's hummingbird showed up in NJ a few years ago and the quick-thinking people running the natural area where it was sighted rushed out with a heat lamp and feeder to keep it alive through the winter. From this misfortune came the chance for this and other easterners to see an unusual, western bird.
|Waiting for the chance to see a bird|
at the thistle sock (Margo D. Beller)
This is why I can't understand why people who have the habit of a daily walk do so with so little enjoyment, their ears covered, or are so gung-ho to walk 1,258 steps they can't stop a few minutes to take in the world around them. Those walking on a lunch hour are particularly bad, so eager are they to fit in as much of the "outdoors" as they can in an hour.
But is it really outdoors if you are not looking at the world around you, scaring up the ground birds as you trudge on? Is the sound of a titmouse singing "Peter Peter" so distracting to your habit that you can't listen to it?
Out of habit you are ignoring the chance of seeing the world around you.