water moves me to go birding

Harry Armistead
Harry remembers the first bird that inspired his passion for birding: a brilliant yellow male American Goldfinch on a purple thistle. He was nine. In the 65 years since, he has become an accomplished birder and an amateur ornithologist.  One of his favorite places for birding is Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge here in Dorchester County. Although the retired librarian lives in Philadelphia, he comes to Blackwater 15 or more times a year. He’s led bird walks at the refuge for 30 years and has organized  113 bird counts there. “I love the wildness of Dorchester and the marshes,” he says.

“I love the wildness of Dorchester.”

my picks

Favorite birding spots in Dorchester:
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Elliotts Island Road, and Hoopers Island. I’ve also used a boat to get to some of the islands, including Bloodsworth Island.

Favorite bird:
The American robin. It has unusual coloration, you can see big flocks of them in October, and they’re beautiful singers.

Tips for beginning birders:
• Join one of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge’s free bird walks (held several times a year).
• Watch for birds in the early morning, when they’re most active.
• Join a birding club. Other members will provide helpful information in a low-key atmosphere.

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