I smiled as I pulled out my Strawberry Hill Birders T-shirt from the package, delighted that my illustration has made a plain white T-shirt come to life with a happy memory. I put it on immediately.
I can’t remember when I fell in love with rowing a boat on Stow Lake – not only do I feel alive and excited about being on the water, but I also enjoy being closer to the birds. Jon and I would never miss a Great Blue Heron or Red-shouldered Hawk.
One evening last September, we hiked up Strawberry Hill and bumped into [D] and his teenage daughter, [E]. They told us they were “caught in a storm of warblers”.
Soon after they left, we met more birders who were having similar “warbler discussions”. At that point, several Red-shouldered Hawks flew by and we gave chase. Yet, non of these birders waved their telephoto lens at the sky. Finally, one of them pointed us to the various little yellow birds that were darting among the trees.
That was the moment we saw the little wonders that the professional birders were fixated on. In the next month or two, we started seeing the Townsend Warbler and squealed at the sight of a Yellow-rumped Warbler at our rooftop party. Although we still have not figured out whether it’s the Wilson Warbler or Orange-crowned Warbler we saw, we are getting closer to getting “caught in a storm of warblers”.
As we reconnected with nature and took birdwatching more seriously, I began to document this exciting new chapter in our lives. Someday, I will fill my unconventional bird map with all the feathered friends we have yet to meet on (and around) Strawberry Hill.