Birding is a very cheap and relaxing hobby. You can pursue it almost anywhere . I once made a list of birds seen in church – through a nearby window – go figure. I’ve also made a list of birds heard while still in bed (while camping). I’ve even made lists of birds heard while sitting on the toilet.
You could say I’m a little obsessed.
As for being a cheap hobby, you don’t need any special equipment. Sure – you can buy expensive field guides and handbooks. The Handbook of Aussie birds (7 volumes) will set one back over $3000. Binoculars can cost from $125 to many thousands of dollars. Camera gear and travel can add considerably to costs – I spent over $6000 a few years ago to see and handful of species new to me on the slopes of Mt Everest (read about that on my travel blog).
But birding can be as cheap as looking out of the window to see a beautiful finch or wren hopping around the garden.
The hobby is whatever you want to make it.
If birding appeals to you can I suggest reading my series called How to be a Birder?
When we were in Sydney last month visiting family for Christmas, one of the things I wanted to do was to take a ferry trip on Sydney Harbour. Last time we were here we didn’t get to go on the harbour. The main objective of the ferry ride was to see the beautiful harbour and the magnificent scenery around it. Birding was secondary.
We took the ferry to Manly where we alighted for a walk to the beach. We also indulged in a delicious icecream before heading home again. I was more intent in getting some good photos of the harbour rather than watching birds. I definitely saw plenty of Silver Gulls. They seem to be plentiful here. I also saw several terns but without my binoculars it was hard to tell the species. Several cormorants were seen at a distance too great to positively ID and I’m sure I missed many others on the journey.
On a visit in 2000 I was walking along the foreshore near Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and was surprised – and delighted – to observe a Fairy Penguin (Little Penguin) swimming in the shallow water. Later I found out that they are a breeding species in the harbour. No penguins on this trip however.
While birding from one of the ferries that ply these waters daily could be done with some success, my experience on this occasion was disappointing. Of more value, I suspect, would be to visit a series of key spots around the harbour.Ã‚Â A static position may be far more effective rather than a moving platform. Just a thought.