Working at GCBO has given me opportunities to experience new places and birds throughout this past year. Last Friday I had the pleasure of working our host station at Quintana for our month long Spring Fling. It was my first time to explore that side of the coast and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I arrived closer to Quintana I enjoyed the sound crashing waves and birds singing and flying about in the wide open blue sky.
Upon my arrival at Quintana I was anxious to get everything settled at the host station and explore the Neotropic Sanctuary. I quickly grabbed my Sibley Guide, binoculars, bird checklist, and visitor log book. (I didn’t want to miss a chance to meet any birders on the trail!). Although, I had an idea of what birds might be out there, I knew identifying them would be the hardest part. Since I’m a beginner birder I found it easy to make tabs in my Sibley Guide for the most common or resident birds depending on where I’m birding. This little tip has saved me mountains of time when dealing with birds who don’t like to stay in one place for very long. A few birds I quickly learned how to identify is Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Great-tailed Grackle, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Gray Catbird, Blue Grosbeak, Bronzed Cowbird, and Indigo Bunting, just to name a few. With over 100+ birds of several different species to be seen at Quintana I was feeling pretty confident in being able to speak bird with the local birders. That was at least until they started speaking scientific or pointing out the 89,000 other birds I didn’t know but I’m enjoying learning as I continue to bird.
I had the pleasure of adding a new bird sighting to my personal checklist, while at Quintana. While walking past a brush pile I noticed a flash of vibrant colors out of the corner of my eye. I had to take a double look; the radiant rainbow of colors caught me off guard. Tucked in the brush pile was a Painted Bunting. A member sent me a picture of one they’d seen this past month but I hadn’t encountered one for myself. What an amazing sight it was! Referencing back to my Sibley Guide I determined it was a 1st year bird and due to the distinctive color patterns it was male.
Hopefully, I have your curiosity peaked if you haven’t seen one and encourage you to seek out this rare beauty; you’ll be glad you did!
As my day came to an end I was thankful for the chance to get out of the office and embark on a new adventure! I plan on visiting Quintana a few more times before Spring Migration is over and hope to add more birds to my list. If you’re a new or experienced birder I highly recommend venturing out to Quintana to see what birds you can find. Who knows you might just find a life bird!
By: Jessica McGee