"I was working tourism in Colombia at the time. It was an offer from the local government to develop new products, about birdwatching. It was how to market, price it, make it into a product. Since Colombia has the most diversity in birds, it was natural for me to have an interest in it from that side.
It calms you down, it's soothing. it's very rewarding to see a bird. There's something special about it. [Birding] is something people should try at least once in their life!
While driving to a birding spot yesterday afternoon, I noticed a guy on a bike heading the opposite direction as me. I almost didn't do a double-take, but wait.. this guy was wearing binoculars! I had to stop.
Rolling down the window, I asked him if he'd seen any birds. His response surprised me:
His slight accent sounded familiar to me- maybe he was from Ecuador or Colombia? I had to talk with this guy more and learn his story. I told him I'd bird with him, so I pulled my car over and he locked up his bike and we began walking around the park together. That's how I met Juan.
Yesterday I birded Key Biscayne in southern Florida, at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The park opens at 8am, so I began the day at Black Point Marina, a well-known spot for Mangrove Cuckoo. I knew this shy bird may be a "heard-only" for the year, and I wasn't prepared to spend hours waiting for it to get light out, and then hours looking for a well-camoflauged bird in a very dense habitat. I'd show up, and leave my birding mojo in the hands of fate (or whatever you believe in, but that seems like the appropriate language choice)
I birded near the lighthouse in the morning, which wasn't very "birdy" (a term used to describe an area that has a lot of bird activity). However, the deeper I went off-trail into the hardwood hammocks, the more warblers I began to see. First Palm Warblers, then Black-and-white, followed by American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Blue... the list went on! I enjoyed the warm sea breeze filtering through the forest, enjoying seeing many "old friends" from past springs, having returned from their other home across the Gulf of Mexico.