Date: 7/3/18 9:38 am
From: CHELEMER, MARC J <mc2496...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Being a "Pal"

A website called has existed for some time. It allows birders who are traveling to places they're not familiar with to request to meet birders in that area. I've used it to enhance my birding in Birmingham (UK), Colorado, Florida, Venice (IT), Utah, and Hawaii. I've met really nice people and seen/heard wonderful birds which I would have been unlikely to find without these companions.

Paying it forward, I've listed my name on BirdingPal for New Jersey. In the past few years, I've been contacted by a woman from Spain, whom I took to Sparta Mountain WMA, and who I introduced to another birder whose native language was Spanish (I'm sure it's nice to hear one's mother tongue while traveling); a fellow from the Netherlands, who I never met, but who spent a few days with great birders I introduced him to in Cape May; and, just last week, by a former New Jerseyan who became a birder only after she departed our state's borders for Florida.

G wanted to find passerines near Eatontown where she was staying, so we spent three hours or so this morning, in the haze and heat of the rising sun, at Thompson Park. What's wonderful about birding with someone who's either new to one's geography, or new to the hobby, is the thrill of helping that person enjoy a lifer, or a State-r, or just a really good look at a bird they've only glimpsed in the past. Today, I helped G get a good look at a Lifer Warbling Vireo, and we got a fleeting glimpse of a Lifer Willow Flycatcher after hearing it sing. At some point in our birding lives, each of these was a Lifer, too, and today I was privileged to share that excitement once again.

We saw or heard four swallows, three woodpeckers, three "blue" birds (Bluebird, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting), three "yellow" birds (Yellow Warbler, Yellowthroat, Goldfinch), both orioles, and much more, 48 species in all. G will return to Florida having heard birdsongs no one in that state hears (because it's a wintering ground, she hears calls, but no singing) and having enjoyed a taste of her state's heat and humidity right here in Monmouth County.

Good birding all.

Marc Chelemer

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