I was a pretty big birder in my mid-teens and early twenties. I used to spend my summers at Ocean Park, Maine, which is where I got my start in birding. My grandmother took me to the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center one day, and we climbed the small observation tower. A gentleman was there, looking through his spotting scope at some birds and he asked if I would like to take a look. The very first bird that I saw was a Little Blue Heron, and I will always cherish that event. It was the beginning of my serious birding adventures. I was hooked.
While a teen, one of the only things that my father did for me was to take me birding to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts. We spent several weekends going there in the winter, and the one day I will not forget is observing a Tufted Duck and a Snowy Owl out in the marshland, again with the help of other birders using spotting scopes. Parker River, which I called Plum Island, was always my favorite place to bird, but funnily, I didn’t do any birding there in the summertime – that was for Maine. We also visited Marblehead and Newburyport, and one weekend tried to chase down a rare Ross’ Gull sighting in 1975, but never saw it. I do remember all the birders who flocked (pun intended) to Newburyport however!
In the summers of 1976-77, I became very involved in birding in Ocean Park. My two primary birding mentors were Ms. Genevieve Webb and Ms. Edith Stephenson. Both were year-round residents of Ocean Park, and both were big birders. Ms. Stephenson actually had a marsh in her backyard, where one could observe Glossy Ibises, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, and other birds. We used to go birding very early in the mornings to Scarborough Marsh and to Biddeford Pool. That summer, we also published the very first “Birds of Ocean Park, Maine” list, and I also founded the Ocean Park Bird Club, which would be short-lived. Additionally, I found myself leading bird walks… at 15.
In my twenties, most of my birding was at Long Island’s Montauk Point, running trails by the lighthouse and also Oyster Pond. I spent summers there, observing Tanagers, Avocets, Oystercatchers, and numerous sandpipers and plovers. Winters would be spent observing all the various sea ducks, loons and grebes. I also managed to make it to Cape May, New Jersey for the fall migration one year, which was spectacular.
So now, after all those years, I am getting back in to birding. I am retired, and I can truly enjoy it, and chase the birds where they may be. Now, I’m concentrating on birding in Ohio, and am ambitiously exploring all that Ohio has to offer for birds. and looking forward to my first spring migration at Magee Marsh. Join me on the ride…