Originally Posted by PYRTLE
Finding birds in general or finding rarities?
Either way it means many hours in the field, combined with studying weather movements and planning where to base yourself for a day or several. Also you need to look at birds, sounds strange but give them more than a quick glance. That Whitethroat could be something else.
Oh yes, and a lot of luck..... you may be at a hotspot and have no joy all day, soon as you leave, bingo! However, you will have some rewards and purple patches along the way. Dont be too intense, thinking you're going to find a mega every time, just relax and absorb what's around. Study and read all the info on good sites around you and look out for an area that seems promising and unexplored.
Easterlies and late summer. Migrants on the move, good luck.
There's no such thing as luck. Seriously. As a bird finder, I despise when someone calls it luck when you find (yet another) good bird. As if you're flipping a coin when you ID that rarity you just found.
It's not luck that puts you on a headland at 6.30/7 a.m for a seawatch, when everyone else is in bed. That's effort.
It's not luck when you watch the weather forecasts and decide this weekend is going to be good for Hoopoe, or warblers, or yank waders etc etc and you end up finding one. That's forethought.
It's certainly not luck, when you find an American Herring or Caspian gull...that takes a long time watching gulls, reading up and learning your stuff. That's study.
Finding birds is about constant effort. It's about finding the impetus to get out there and look, every chance you get. Even if you don't think the weather is inspiring, or the time of year is right, or everyone else is saying it's not worth leaving the pub for.
It's keeping going, checking that next spot down the road, even if everywhere you've checked so far has been dead.
It's about seeing an influx of Laughing gulls or Wryneck and saying to yourself "No. I'm not twitching that one 10km down the road, I'm headed to site X to find my own".
It's about seeing a weather front in September that you know is carrying American waders, and instead of heading to Tacumshin like everyone else, you head to Kerry or Mayo because you know there's going to be mile upon mile of beaches, lagoons and estuaries completely unwatched and up for grabs.
It's about taking nothing for granted, so where every other birder in Cork isn't bothered looking at egrets, you find that Cattle Egret sat on a wall in plain sight.
People may call you jammy (or worse) when you score that mega seabird one time, unaware of all the days you put in with a few manx, sooties and stormies. They may call you jammy when you find a Lesser Yellowlegs, not thinking for a moment how many Redshank you had to go through to get that one hit.
But these are the things it takes to find birds consistently.