Thursday, March 4, 2021

Birding By Kayak

Both Jeff and I are nature nerds.  Yes, our passion for wildlife and nature extends into birds and we are both avid birders.  When we are apart, it is not uncommon for us to text each other our bird sightings - who is flying by and who is singing.  Birding is something that anyone can do almost anywhere. Of course one of our favorite places to bird is on the water from the seat of our kayaks.

Tips for Birding from a Kayak by Jeff Laxier

Kayak Birding Tour on Fort Bragg's Noyo River

From the moment my father and I witnessed a fly being caught and eaten by a bird, I could no longer hide my blindness to the beauty of nature.

Three tips to birding by kayak

1. Slow it down. The slower you go, the better. Birds and other wildlife will be less alarmed by your curious and courteous behavior.

2. Use a spotting scope, binoculars, or a monocular: These are just tools to assist with getting more detail and possibly identifying species. Try not to get to much into the “glassing” and enjoy your surroundings. Top tip on glassing wildlife: Start with the subject just above the top of the device. Next slowly move your device up until the subject is in view from the glasses. Last focus on subject.

3. Avoidance: If you hear an alarming sound or action (the action and acting of a bird with a broken wing) stop or re-route. During nesting season be very mindful of coastal cliffs with a high accumulation of white bird guano. On the Mendocino coast we have a number of Pelagic Cormorants nesting in colonies upon cliff faces. Often these nesting locations are just above awesome sea caves, cool sea stacks, and rock garden features. Avoid these areas during nesting season (March - August).
Pelagic Cormorants nesting on coastal rocks on the Mendocino Coast.  

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