Birder's Guide

DEC 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 27 of 51

Field Sketching Fig. 1b Fig. 1a Small, pocket-sized notebooks (Fig. 1a) and larger, 6" x 9" versions (Fig. 1b) come in lined and unlined versions, a personal preference. Fig. 2. Spiral-bound notebooks are nice, as they open fat, and you can tear out pages if necessary. But the pages can also be accidentally removed. Above are two styles of Rite in the Rain notebooks. The larger one, though it will only ft well into a large cargo pants pocket, has vertical columns which are useful if birding in several habitat types or locations. 26 Although it may seem tedious at times, note-taking is invaluable. I have often been surprised at how many times I referred back to a journal or sketchbook from 10 or 20 years ago. It always jogs my memory about the time, the place, and the birds seen there, often far beyond what I am looking for. A notebook is a good place to keep track of photo frames, times, and dates. Many cameras automatically attach such information to a photo fle, but if you forget to set the date and time correctly, those data can be incorrect. I admit that I am not diligent about keeping track of what I see locally (which in some ways is most useful over the long term), but whenever I travel, even if just a short way from home, I usually carry both a small notebook and sketchbook. Here, I suggest some options for notebooks and sketchbooks that can be taken into the feld and discuss some of the pros and cons of each. The simplest option is a small notebook and a pencil or pen. With the advent of the Moleskine brand and its imitators (which may be a good deal Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2013 cheaper), there are many choices for nice, well-bound notebooks. I like to have something that is big enough for taking notes—and perhaps doing a small ID sketch—without feeling too confned. These thin, soft, Moleskine notebooks run from $3 to $20, depending on size. The paper in these notebooks may get damp, however, which could be a problem if you're working or traveling anywhere that is humid. When I started working as a biologist many years ago (before the age of entering data directly into a computer), I was Fig. 3. Here's a journal page from my frst trip to Mexico, before the feld guide Steve Howell and I coauthored was even a thought.

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