By Guest Blogger Grace Chung
I immediately applied for a scholarship to the class, and my application was successful. I was and still am very grateful for this chance to improve my shorebird ID skills and would like to thank the scholarship donors for this gift!
Alvaro Jaramillo was an amazing instructor, and I got more from the class than I expected. We started the class by learning about shorebirds’ basic biology (in particular, their breeding, migration, and molt) and moved more deeply into the different types of shorebirds – from avocets to sandpipers to plovers to oystercatchers, and so many more. Although it was a beginner's birding course, Alvaro went into great detail about everything from each bird’s subtle sexual dimorphism, to feeding and migrating habits, to distinctions between juveniles and adults, and even named locations where we can find certain species.
Now when my family makes our weekly drive down to Pacifica, I hope that I can identify all the different shorebirds, including Sanderlings, Snowy Plovers, and Black Oystercatchers, just as well as I can identify birds of prey. Beyond species identification, however, I also hope to improve my awareness and understanding of coastal ecology, and how different birds like peregrines and shorebirds interact in the wild. As a conservationist and birdwatcher, I find it very important to watch such interactions and study shorebirds, especially during a time when many shorebird species are in decline. It is thanks to the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory that I now have an enhanced understanding of shorebirds, and I cannot wait to apply this knowledge in my future birding experiences.
Grace Chung is a second-year student at Stanford University. She loves all things related to birds and ecology, and is an avid licensed falconer who has experience with several kinds of bird of prey. She is also an avid birder and wildlife photographer, and her favorite destination to go birding is Costa Rica. Her avian photography has been published by multiple journals and competitions, including Nature's Best Photography.
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