Picture of montebello open space preserve

I’m excited to be birding in the new world and observing new species of animals and plants. I have already been on 3 birding trips and I’m beginning to identify and spot common birds. I have heard from many folks that birding in the west is way different from birding in India. Even with my limited experience, I can already begin to see the differences in culture.

[Picture of birder walking amidst wild california oats]

I love the concept of open preserves and county parks that carve out a space for wildlifers like me to explore. These are small preserves and National parks that are marked and closed for private use. The landscape in my immediate vicinity is a mix of dry shrub thickets called the chaparral habitat. They can be likened to India’s shola grasslands in the western Ghats.

I was lucky enough to be part of the Palo Alto annual bird count and I had a great birder friend, Vivek Tewari, who took me along. We saw about 30+ species of birds in a span of about 6 hours. Obviously every single bird was a lifer for me and I got a good tutorial on the bio-diversity and ecology of California. Pictured below are two highlights from that day. My first shot of an Anna’s Hummingbird and a Gopher snake. In my last 5 years being a wildlife enthusiast I have never encountered a snake in the wild. On this day, we saw a total of 4 snakes in total, sunning themselves in the afternoon sun.

I am looking forward to birding in the new world!

Picture of pied billed grebe

Picture of ruddy ducks