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How do you find new birding locations?

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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 14:46   #1
lvn600
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Question How do you find new birding locations?

I'm always interested in checking out new spots within my general area (within 10 or so miles from home). I would like to know what are some of the methods forum members have discovered new birding spots besides using ones suggested by birding books or clubs? Also, how do you go about analyzing the potential for a given area?

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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 15:13   #2
Xenospiza
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Try building sites...
If a lot of digging has been going on, this can create vegetationless wet areas favored by waders and ducks.
On the other hand, if agricultural land has been left to its own devices waiting for destruction (typically called "development), you can expect sparrows etcetera taking advantage of cover and food.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 15:17   #3
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Never thought of building sites.I'll have to keep my eyes open for that-thanks for the tip!
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 16:04   #4
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The best approach in my books is to just start thinking about habitat. I do a lot of my birding at sites that aren't on the CT 'hotspot' list and the odd places that are are hardly ever birded these days as the birders who made them 'hotspots' no longer live or bird in the area. During migration land birds especially can be found almost anywhere - all you need to do is find somewhere with some suitable habitat and with a bit of luck you could do very well.

This time of year one is generally looking for open country birds: sparrows etc. So at this time a lot of my birding is done at a local community gardens but anywhere where you can find that has a nice mix of grassland and some shrubby areas should get you some sparrows. If you find a place with plenty of Songs and Savannahs there are undoubtedly going to be other less common birds to be found amongst them.

Here's some places you can think about: Cemetries, Community Gardens, reclaimed landfills, golf courses, airports, water company property (often you can get access to this land through passes etc). Also just start looking at your local towns parks - there may be somewhere out there that people have overlooked or forgotten about. Another approach and I don't know if your area does it but one of my favourite birding sites came about through getting a town book on local walks - out of the 20 or so it recommended only one became part of my regular birding routine but is definitely one of my favourites and has found me such goodies as Olive-sided Flycatcher, YB Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher and days in spring have yielded up to 18 Warbler species.

Best of luck finding and creating your own 'hotspot' - Luke

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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 16:18   #5
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Generally untouched areas, such as weed fields, deciduous tangle near the waters or in fringe on the cultivated areas, capes ...
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 16:19   #6
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Great tips Luke-thanks!
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 17:33   #7
ebba
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Unexploited sites in industrial areas can be worthwhile to explore.
Areas of military interest (if you are allowed access, in Sweden many are open to public even though few people ramble there). The military shooting exercise fields in Southern Sweden are fine areas for wildlife. But remember watch out, duck! has an entirely new meaning when exploring these areas.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 18:53   #8
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This is a very interesting post.... and I like to think I've cracked it several times. What are you looking for? Topography is 90% of the search for migrant birds. Isolated patches of woodland, especially on the coast, are magnificent. Surface water is usually a positive indicator of birds, as is coastline, passes in hills and mountains (on migration) and valley bottoms. If (as we have in various parts of Europe) you can speak to old hunters and bird trappers they will tell you where and when the birds pass. It's odd, but here in middle Europe there are 'traditional areas' where rare birds such as Roller stop off on migration.... flying over the area at 5000ft any Roller (or Red-footed Falcon, Corncrake or Black Stork) says 'that's the best area for my species'. To find rare and local breeding birds then look for examples of what I call 'old landscape'... areas where for one reason or another (aristocracy / military use / environmental protection) the landscape is +/- what it was a generation or two ago. Any total clear out of vegetation over one or two square kilometres (post-fire or flood protection) can produce really rare birds of open areas for a year or two such as Stone Curlews or Nightjars. Good luck.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2005, 20:12   #9
lvn600
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[quote=Touty]
Quote:
This is a very interesting post.... and I like to think I've cracked it several times. What are you looking for?
I am looking for some insight from birders like yourself. Although some of the information on this thread may be redundant in some cases I think that each person may offer a slightly different perspective. This type of information inspires me to explore new places and hopefully it might do the same for others.

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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 13:12   #10
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Interesting thread--more than for ideas of where to look, I'm seeing the same pattern among birders as among the birds; that is, the responses show that the birders are making the best use of the habitats available in their area.

The locales of the birders are very different from one another and all are very different from the American midwest. Town walks? Very Eastern U.S.. Building sites? Here a building site is an extensive scraped area with no access. Capes? Uhhh, there is the point at the bend of the river. Some of the small towns, especially to our west, are oases in that the towns have the only significant numbers of trees--often an attractant to off-course birds looking down on corn and bean fields.

Fortunately, for the birds and birders, there is still a great deal of "good" habitat hereabouts. That presents its own set of difficulties when looking for a new site--there are so many options (and much of it is public land) that only a very small percentage gets checked. For every hot spot or single rarity we discover, I wonder how many we're missing!

Good Birding,

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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 14:43   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phalarope
…the responses show that the birders are making the best use of the habitats available in their area.
The locales of the birders are very different from one another and all are very different from the American midwest. … Building sites? Here a building site is an extensive scraped area with no access.
Well – the same is true for many building sites over here, but sometimes we're lucky!
I am usually disappointed by the bad accessibility of areas that look interesting once I go abroad – we Dutch are spoilt in that respect (it comes at a price: crowds!)
Getting acquainted with the "known" good birding areas where you live is the best way to find the "new" ones I guess!
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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 15:39   #12
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Sometimes I look for scarce elements of their environment. (Some refer this as the edges of the environment.)

For example: Birding in the arid west --look for water sources. Birding in a city -- look for lots of trees in a park. Birding in an open pasture or field-- scan the lone tree and fence lines for bird perching or clumps of brush. Birding in woods -- look at the clearings. Birding after a rain storm in the woods-- look for sun lit places. Birding in farm land that is full of crops -- look at the newly tilled field or fallow field. Birding in the 100 degree heat of summer -- Look at the cooler shaded areas.

I also bird the normal areas but most of the time I have better finds in the rare spaces.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 17:53   #13
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I just read a thread from a man on an oil rig in the North Sea--talk about a scarce element.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2005, 23:04   #14
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Usually get a lot of info from a bird sightings message board I subscribe to.



cheers,
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Old Friday 14th October 2005, 21:58   #15
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I just received permission to meander through some fruit orchards and fields owned by a family who run a vegetable stand/store. I'm also going to print out this thread pretty soon.

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