Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Best Birding Buddy

Samuel's photograph of the urban swamp

This past weekend we had the pleasure of having family members we seldom see visit for Thanksgiving. One of them was my ten year old cousin, Samuel, who is very interested in birding. He arrived on Saturday with his Sibley Bird Guide and was anxious to show me the book after dinner. Samuel really, really knows his birds and has absorbed most of the details in his well used guide. Monday was going to be a free day for both of us, so we planned to meet up in the morning and visit some of my favourite trails. We were hoping to see the Wood Ducks at the local swamp as they have been around for over a week.

Female Pintail Duck

Sam came equipped with his mom's camera and loads of enthusiasm. We approached the edge of the swamp quietly and scanned the stumps and rushes with binoculars but were unable to find any Wood Ducks. There were Black Ducks and Sam pointed out several female Pintail Ducks, birds I had never seen before. It was blazing hot and very humid and the area felt more like the Everglades than Ontario.
Samuel taking a picture of a Great Blue Heron

We left and went to the reservoir where I saw the Great Egrets. They have been gone for a couple of weeks now, but we saw a couple of Great Blue Herons as well as a number of woodland birds on the trail. By noon, it was even hotter and we decided to return Sam's family. But then, this serious birder asked if there was another trail we could visit before we went back.

Well, of course we could!

We stopped at a trail along the Grand River, one that is good for birding as well as viewing wild animals, reptiles and amphibians. Sam was pointing out bird nests, grasshoppers, a praying mantis, a garter snake as well as various birds. And by now it was very, very, very hot and humid, but there wasn't a murmur of complaint from my companion. I think he could have gone on all day.

Samuel has a blog called Nature and he wrote about our day here. I have many other places to show him and hope he can return soon. I wonder what this very gifted child will accomplish in the future? I would love to take him to see Monarch's bird banding operation sometime. In the meantime he can continue to teach me what he has learnt about nature.


  1. Looks like a great birding buddy and will become a great scientist some day! I am more than sure of it! You both are always welcomed with open doors!

  2. Glad to see a young fellow so interested! There is a little boy up the street (he is so polite for 10) intrested in bugs. He and I were able to converse about bugs one day. He was pleased to find an adult interested in the crawly things! He is also very interested in my gardening efforts and grows sunflowers himself!

  3. What a cool little guy that Sam is! Sounds like you all had a really fun time too. Can I go with you to Monarch's station??? :c)

  4. What a sweet little Sam face- and the pug face is cute too! Sam looks so eager.

  5. Ruth, he's a breath of fresh air, right? It's great to see children have show interest in nature.

  6. What a neat thing for a boy of that age having such an interest.

  7. Monarch- We may be knocking at your tree some day! I wish Sam lived closer.

    CS- I enjoy being with elementary school-aged children. They still enjoy adult company and attention and are often very passionate about things that interest them.

    Jayne- We should plan a blogger party at Monarch's place ;-)
    When I think of my Sam, I often think of your Sam. Both are special boys.

    Lynne- Sam has a pug named Max who is now 6 months old. I like that picture of him (which I borrowed from his Facebook page) He wants to be a vet according to his mother.

    Mary- I think most children would enjoy nature if they were given a chance to experience it. Sam's parents have spent a lot of time encouraging him in his interests and have done a great job raising him.

    A-Cloud- Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  8. That is such a wonderful story - what an amazing young boy. I admire his enthusiasm and hope he retains it for many years to come!

  9. Hi Ruth - I'm so glad you posted about your young birding buddy and gave us the link to his blog. He certainly does a great job, not only knowing his birds, but also working on his blog. Kudos to Birdman. And thanks for sharing with us.

  10. Kate- I hope so too!

    Mary C- Thanks for checking out his blog. He has stuck with it longer than many adult bloggers.

  11. I can only imagine what he'll be doing when he's an adult. It's great to see a 10 year old interested in the natural world!

  12. Hi Ruth,
    What a cool story about your young cousin Sam. I don't know very many little kids at all and it would be fun to meet and spend some time with a young person like this. Thanks for sharing.


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