Ten years ago, when June Beyman allowed a friend to move into her home temporarily, she unexpectedly opened a door to a whole new pattern of life – because it so happened that this friend was a bird watcher. On weekends the two of them would spend most of the day outdoors. The Akron metropolitan area, with its thirteen parks and inviting hike-and-bike trails, provided a lush background for nature lovers – and for birds – and June began her habit of keeping lists. In Florida later that year June signed on for a four-day boat trip to the Dry Tortugas, a series of islands southwest of Key West, where the living conditions were primitive, but the spring migration of warblers was passing through.
After five years of watching, June began taking pictures of birds, and, with the help of her daughter, who taught her about scrap-booking, has built up a book containing all her own photos of 175 species of birds. It is nothing unusual for June, carrying her Kodak with the 12 Zoom, to stay outdoors eight hours at a stretch. Visiting in Arizona, she added fifty new birds to her list and twenty-five in Oregon. Her Life List, now numbering 440, just keeps getting longer.
Most of her birding, however, is done right here Martin County, or around her hometown of Akron, Ohio, or around Raleigh, North Carolina, where her daughter lives. She is particularly attracted to the Boynton Beach Water Treatment Plant, Wakatahatchee, whose boardwalk is a major attraction for photographers. Another favorite trip is to Crane Creek during the second week in May for the Spring migration in Ohio.
Bird counting is now a special interest, and June has taken part in both the Christmas and the Spring counts in Ohio, N. Carolina, and Florida. These official bird counts, by species and by number, are done throughout the country during the three weeks around Christmas and during three weeks in April.
For June, bird watching has provided an additional dimension to life with most gratifying results. When traveling anywhere in the world, there is the sight seeing, and then there are the birds. When staying in Russia, admiring a grand hotel, she had the sudden pleasure of seeing a different looking bird flying overhead and recognized it as a Wag Tail. On the canals of Amsterdam, she spied a Coot and a Great Blue Heron. Any day, at any time, she might feel the unexpected thrill of spotting some spectacular bird – or of coming face to face with the most fascinating people just watching the birds.