ANYWAYS, I do have something to write about, a little different than my usual posts. It's kind of about birding, but mostly about something else. Wait! Where are you going? Don't give up on me yet. There's something here for you bird nuts! So hang in there. But warning: You might pick up a new hobby. It's ok though, because you can do it at the same time as birdwatching. Just when you thought you couldn't get any more nerdy...you can.
What is it?
Well I don't quite remember how I got into it, but last year I learned about geocaching. I went out and found my first cache. Actually, come to think of it...I think I mentioned it in passing at the time on this very blog.
If you haven't heard of it, geocaching is like high-tech treasure hunting for adults (and kids). People hide "caches" (a container of some sort with a log that you sign, and sometimes there's other stuff in it). They post the coordinates online and you go find it. Anyone can hide a cache, and anyone can find it. They can be as big as a coffee tin (or bigger) and as small as a film canister (or even smaller).
I hadn't done any caching since last year, but I was out hiking with some friends on Monday and I offered to introduce them to geocaching, since they had heard me talk about it before, and they were curious. The iPhone has an app and a built-in GPS, so I shelled out the $10 for the geocaching app (you don't need it, because geocaching is totally free,but it's useful for logging and searching while you're out) and we used that. Apparently the phone GPS triangulates based on cell phone towers, so it is a lot more accurate in the city than in the woods. So I still need to buy a "real" outdoor GPS.
What does this have to do with birds, you ask?? Hang on...I'm getting to it!
My friends found their first cache, and last night I was on the Geocaching website to see if there are any around Mud Lake (there are lots), and I happened to click on one called "The Bird Brain Challenge." It's really random that I clicked on it because the coordinates posted were not the true ones; you have to solve a puzzle to find it. And then I got excited!
So there are 3 kinds of caches that I can think of that might be of interest to birders. Let me describe them to you.
- The traditional cache hidden at a birding hotspot.
- Here's one right here in Ottawa: The Bird Brain Challenge GC255R3 I've already solved it but need to go find the cache!
- One in Vancouver: Jericho's Birder Cache GC206H6
- One in Ohio. This one's for the birds GC2M0K8. I don't know why it's called this (it's definitely not for the birds), because I have no idea how to solve it.
- A cool one in Georgia. A little too far for me, but the puzzle looks fun. This cache is for the birds GC1FHNW
Want to see if there's a cache near you? Let me know if you find one!