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I'm a new bird nerd, but an old nature lover. After years of camping with my husband and visiting national and state parks all over the country, in January 2019 I started birding in earnest from my home base in Amarillo, Texas. Counting birds, identifying subspecies and posting lists on eBird are all recent hobbies for me. But walking a beautiful trail at sunrise, listening to bird calls, and trying to spot wildlife has been my lifelong passion. 


I've also always loved nature photography.. In the spring of 2019, I discovered the Nikon Coolpix P1000, a superzoom (digital equivalent of a 3000mm lens) point and shoot camera with a built-in bird setting. Most of the pictures on this blog that were taken before 2021 were shot with the P1000. 

In 2021, I was ready for an upgrade. As much as I love my P1000 (and my husband's newer, lighter P950), I wanted to take better birds in flight and low light photos, neither of which are particularly easy to do with those Nikon superzooms. So in March 2021, I purchased a Nikon d500, which is the preferred Nikon DSLR camera of wildlife photographers. I used it with a Nikon 200-500mm zoom lens. The results were beyond my expectations. Suddenly, finely detailed shots of birds in flight were common during my birding adventures.


However, the d500 with the big zoom lens is heavy, making it impractical for many birding days. In an effort to lighten the load slightly and to move to mirrorless photography, I switched to a Nikon Z8 and 180-600mm lens in November 2023. The bird autofocus on that camera is fantastic and after a learning curve, I'm happy I made the switch. The "keepers" that I get now with the Z8 are almost too numerous to manage.

I have been privileged to be mentored by some of the Texas Panhandle's best birders, including Barrett Pierce, Thomas Johnson, Hap Hamous, Anette Carlisle, Doug and Sue Smith and especially my best birding buddy, the humble birding genius, Peggy Trosper. Their generousity in sharing their vast knowledge has enabled me to become a better birder very rapidly. Since Spring 2023, I've had the great joy to teach an adult education birding class at Amarillo College alongside Peggy, Anette, Hap and Tom. I also get to administer the Birds of the Texas Panhandle Facebook page with them. We now have more than 3500 members of that Facebook group and are overjoyed at the recent interest in birdwatching in our area. With more than 25,000 square miles to cover in the Texas Panhandle, we need all the help we can get finding and reporting on the birds in the top 26 counties of Texas. 

I am blessed to be married to Rohn Butterfield, who teaches Earth and Space Science at Caprock High School in Amarillo. His endless curiosity and vast knowledge help me to appreciate and better understand both nature and life. We have an amazingly capable adult son, Hart, who lives in Chicago, and some poorly-trained but very sweet rescue dogs. 


When I am not outdoors, I am a full-time employment lawyer in Amarillo and have been for 30+ years. I help my business clients comply with the laws prohibiting discrimination, the overtime and minimum wage requirements, the Family and Medical Leave Act and other employment regulations. I practice with the firm of Wright Wilmarth Byrd, PLLC. My business websites have articles to help employers with their legal issues and are located at and


Vicki at Bryce Canyon National Park.jpg
auodad sheep whisperer.JPG
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