Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).
I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.
Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name—very metal. 🤘🏾
I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!