Confessions of a Rookie Birder: Overcoming Lethargy

The Yellow-throated Vireo is not the easiest bird to see. (Photo by Craig Taylor, Costa Rica)

We’ve spent much of the past week camping at West Point Lake outside of LaGrange, Georgia. The birding there, even in the off-season in the summer, was wonderful. It was just what I needed to overcome what Bob calls my “Birding Lethargy.”

If you’ve read past Confessions of a Rookie Birder, you’ve already heard my laments about everyday birds and appreciating the common things in life. Yeah, it all sounds somewhat profound, but the truth is, I’ve struggled to keep up my enthusiasm during these hot summer days.

When we arrived at the lake, we began to see waterfowl that we’d never seen before. It was amazing and those are stories for other days. I was so interested in the waterfowl that I totally ignored all the little, seemingly common birds that flocked to our campsite.

That is, I ignored them until the final morning while we were already breaking down the camp. I looked over and saw a bright yellow flash on a bird that was on the ground nearby. We haven’t often seen birds with yellow coloring, so I grabbed my binoculars and looked closer. It was a bird I’d never seen before and I had to do a search on Merlin Bird ID to identify it. It took both of us watching the bird and comparing photos to determine the bird was a Yellow-throated Vireo. Not only was the bird new to us, he was marked on Merlin as uncommon for that area.

It’s easy to see why the Yellow-throated Vireo is difficult to see when he’s in the trees. (Photo by Craig Taylor)

The Yellow-throated Vireo was the crowning find in a week of wonderful birding. Why? Because the Yellow-throated Vireo was the uncommon bird mixed in with a ton of common birds. Because the Vireo was special.

This closeup photo from Pinterest shows just how uncommon this vireo is.

Reminder to me: Never get so comfortable with the common that I miss the uncommon around me.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email