Many, if not most of us, are collectors. Those of us who are fascinated with the natural world tend to collect in that direction. When I was younger and not as environmentally wise as I am today (Oh, the wisdom brought with the years!) I used to collect seashells. I lived in the South Pacific and had a huge garden of calcium carbonate designs to choose from that were a miraculous joy in artistic beauty. I was wise in that quantity was not my goal, but expanding variety in my collection. Today I still have a lovely collection of these marine homes, but do feel guilt that in some cases I created homelessness and death. (Perhaps a post on that someday.)
Later I collected turtles. Not real turtles of course, but chotskies of turtles made from ceramic, wood, coconut shell, etc. They have become memories of travels and stuff to dust!
Today with my aging eyesight and slow photographic skills I collect bird photos. Finding a new bird, or seeing a familiar bird in a new and closer light, gives me the same thrill that I had years ago when finding an exotic patterned seashell tucked into a piece of coral rock. Above and below are terrible photos of a the blue-gray gnatcatcher, but the best I could get. And I am posting them because this is the very first time I have ever seen this bird!! It is something new to add to my bird list. So, if you are not a birder, this post will have little meaning for you.
This bird is not much larger than a hummingbird and maybe only looks a little larger because of that long tail. The photos are horrible, because this bird sits still for only a mini-second or two before he is off exploring other branches for food. I am pretty sure about my ID because it did have the unibrow that makes him look a little mad. Their breeding habitat is the Western US and up to Ontario in Canada, but they have a huge range and they do migrate to and from the Caribbean and are moving into my area. I could not find much information on this bird but a good link with better pictures is here.