How did you get started birding?
I've always really been into nature- every aspect of it. We moved up here when I was 4. I think birds being the most observable form of wildlife really helped me focus on that. When I was 12 years old, I discovered that people actually go birding on trips. That was a new concept for me. That's when I really started, when I was 12 years old.
What's your favorite aspect of birding?
I think birding is a great door into exploring all aspects of the outdoors. Plants, and trees and insects. Going out to Glaicer Park seems liek a really full experience for me, because I'm seeing it all. Experiencing nature with all of your senses in every aspect that you can. Appreciating every organism. Feel this huge picture of where I'm at in the world. I think that's my favorite part.
What is the strangest experience you've had while birding?
What comes to mind is interactions with other people- mostly non-birders. Especially out in Montana where there's not a lot of other people that go birding. You run into people that think you're up to no good, or think you're spying on them. It's really interesting to deal with and explain what you're doing. Usually those kind of people usually don't see the birds or even know they are around. I've been confronted by someone who was wondering what I was doing and I said I was looking at birds. They blatantly said "There aren't any birds here". I think there are birds here, actually...
Beautiful. I really think it's just beautiful. I love being surrounded and immersed in all aspects of nature.
I met Josh exactly 8 years ago in 2008, on the same mountain pass we birded together today. Logan Pass is the apex of the Going-to-the-Sun road which traverses Glacier National Park from Lake McDonald to St. Mary Lake. The 6,646 summit is the highest point in the park reachable by car, which makes some easy and fun alpine birding to be had by everyone!
I lived in Glacier National Park at that time, a newly-minted college freshman, who in search of summer adventure, had talked my way onto a Harlequin Duck research study in Glacier. It was quite the eventful and memorable summer- I nearly died the first day of work, and had some personal revelations that led me to abandon my enrollment at University of Alaska, and return to Principia College for the start of my Sophomore year that fall. Throughout the summer, I met quite the cast of colorful characters, and found myself birding with Josh, Andrew, Dan, and a newspaper reporter atop Logan Pass looking for White-tailed Ptarmigan. The same bird lured us here today, which would have been a new addition to all of our year lists. Needless to say, we didn't find them but had an excellent time trying both mornings, and enjoyed exploring the park's various habitats. Josh is a talented ear-birder, and he quickly and accurately pointed out many neat birds to see. (I'll leave the list and photos for a separate blog post)