When it comes to birding, I've found that keeping a pocket notebook is as valuable a tool as a pair of binoculars or a good field guide. While out in search of birds, I often encounter species I don't recognize, especially during migration seasons. Keeping a notebook handy to quickly sketch the markings or shape of the bird is helpful when consulting a field guide later, after the bird in question has flown away.
Last week I finished filling up one of my notebooks. Here are some highlights:
When I'm back home after a bird walk, I'll usually pick one of the birds I saw and do a more detailed sketch in colored pencil. This is mostly an aesthetic exercise, although it does help reinforce the appearance of a particular bird.
For a nice blend of form and function, I use Field Notes brand notebooks. They fit perfectly in a shirt or pants pocket, and come in a variety of colorful special editions to choose from.
This page shows my rendition of a Varied Thrush that was found in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Similar to the more familiar Robin (to which it is closely related), this bird was probably blown off course during its migration, and ended up on the East Coast instead of the West, where it is usually found.
1) I endorse Field Notes products solely of my own volition.
2) Varied Thrush originally reported on the Prospect Sightings Blog