The weather is starting to show flashes of spring-like behavior, for good (60-degree days) and ill (persistent rain, which honestly is not really an ill unless I have to be out in it). So I decided to sneak in a bit of pre-work birding in Central Park.
I was hoping to snag some characteristic early spring migrants, maybe an Eastern Phoebe or even a Woodcock, but no luck there. I did see a lot of winter residents and year-rounders gearing up for spring, including a Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a nest cavity, singing White-throated Sparrows, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, and Black-capped Chickadees, and a pair of Robins having a dispute over a promising bit of lawn. I also got nice looks at a single Flicker and three Swamp Sparrows just chilling. Pine Siskins and Juncos are still kicking around, and none of the Goldfinches I saw looked particularly yellow yet. Neither Spring nor Winter describes this moment accurately.
I am trying to take my own advice to appreciate what is instead of chasing after what isn’t, to savor the whole year, but a Pine Warbler would be pretty sweet right now.
On another note, I thought I would follow up on my brief mention of the organic beer that Edgar Allan Poe enjoyed so much in my last post. Beer isn’t as closely associated with birding as coffee (for the very good reasons that birders often need to drive, and need not to have to stop and pee often) but if you do like to kick back with a brew after a long trip or a tough day, there are a plethora of options to look out for the environment while doing so.
The explosion in microbreweries means that most areas of the U.S. can now claim at least a few good beers as local; seeking these out not only reduces your beverage-related carbon footprint, it gives you beer nerd street cred. Organic beer is catching on too. Grist recently posted a pretty good article which reviewed twelve organic beers; besides the ones they name, I enjoy Peak Organic out of Portland Maine and Wolaver’s, a spin-off of Otter Creek Brewing in Vermont. (Eddie favored the Wolaver’s). Non-organic breweries like Dogfish Head out of Delaware experiment from time to time with the use of organic ingredients as well, so keep your eyes peeled for one-offs. Even Anheuser-Busch is in on the act with a division called Green Valley Brewing which produces Wild Hop Lager and Stone Mill Ale.
Besides drinking good beer, you can be environmentally friendly by recycling your cans or (preferably) bottles – or better yet, find out if one of your local suppliers fill growlers. A growler is a resealable jug that holds 32 oz. of liquid; you can drink up, wash it out, and bring it back for new booze as many times as you’d like for a zero waste drinking experience. (If you’re a party-throwing type, kegs offer the same refillable awesomeness.)
So there you go.