As a college student, I've really been attracted with birding at my local campus at UC Davis. Though I have been on campus as a birder for three years, it was really six months ago where I have really enjoyed campus birding as a whole. Today was quite a productive morning especially.
The UC Davis arboretum is a two mile long trail that wraps around a channelized portion of Putah Creek. Though a huge hotspot for students who want to get outside and take a break from a long hard day at school, I find it as a great place to look for birds as a local patch.
I started at 7:30 AM at Lake Spafford where I walked around starting the day with much of the usual birds as well as an American Coot that has been hanging with Mallards and walked to the east end of the arboretum or the Australian Collection. This area in particular was probably the most productive I have ever seen it. I had a Black-throated Gray Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Purple Finch, and at least 7 Orange-crowned Warblers in that area alone! It was also loaded with some of the common sparrows such as Lincoln's, Spotted Towhee, Sooty Fox, White-crowned, and Golden-crowned Sparrows. After enjoying that section of the arboretum, I made my way back eastward across from Lake Spafford where I added some decent birds made my way to the Vet School Entrance of the arboretum. There, I was able to pick up some other birds I don't get every day at the arboretum such as Downy Woodpecker as well as 3 first of year Northern Rough-winged Swallows with 2 Tree Swallows. I eventually worked my way westward to the west end near the equestrian center where a local Green Heron hangs out in the reeds. Working my way back east, I stumbled across a Chipping Sparrow, a new bird for the arboretum for me! Really exciting seeing one of these wintering with a couple Dark-eyed Juncos as they are quite hard in winter in Yolo county. While finishing my bird at Academic Surge, I ended up with 50 species that day (though missing out on some very common species like Common Raven, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture, and Cedar Waxwing).
The reason why I am making this post is to discuss the enjoyment of patch birding, especially for those who are a student at a college, will be a student at a college, or are faculty at a college. All of us on here have the enjoyment to see birds which is why we are on here but there is nothing more at home than finding somewhere local to spend your time. Especially at college campuses, there is always potential to get something rare that can show up so finding a nice patch or area to bird whether during migration, finding something good that has potential to overwinter, or even just to try to patch list similarly to how many of us county or state list remains a key part of birding and really drives the fun of birding. For those who have the opportunity, I do recommend doing such because it allows birders not only to try to find birds in an area by hammering it constantly but for ones own satisfaction to care about what one sees locally, not just on a state or even county level.
Hopefully this brings some excitement and allows others the opportunity to enjoy birding in your own local parks/ area. Find somewhere good nearby and keep birding it...