. . . as reflected in the car window at the end of a walk.
Expert birding help
I feel comfortable with many of my bird identifications, but unsure about many others, so it was great when I met Paul Champlin on Gooseberry recently and he agreed to help out. He's a professional and a lifelong birder, so now I can be pretty sure that when I write "it's a Least Sandpiper" it really is a Least Sandpiper!
Paul has a BS and MS in wildlife biology from UMass Amherst and Clemson University in SC. He's currently employed at the Newport Navy Base in wildlife management. He's been birding since he was 8 and has been all over the western hemisphere. "I'm relatively new to the area (3 1/2 years in Westport)" he writes, "and look forward to discovering new people and places."
So I now can be sure of my bird identifications because I'm emailing Paul the pictures first with my best guesses. Someday I hope to reach the point where I don't need help, for the better I know the birds the more I enjoy my walks on Gooseberry. But the bottom line is this - if they're mistakes here, they're mine. I'm writing this. So Paul isn't an excuse for inaccuracy on my part - but he sure will give me a much higher degree of confidence. And he's already reviewed many posts and I've made corrections in them based on what he's reported. Fortunately, I didn't have to correct too much, but even with photos and several books open I make mistakes.