When I walked through the site yesterday, a lot sparrows were working an area that had been full of blooming goldenrod and boneset a month or so ago. There were Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows, of course, but also a handful of Swamp Sparrows. A Winter Wren chattered from the shrubs on one side of the site. When I looked in the other direction, a big flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets was working its way through the lower branches of the trees along the river. I reported 8 to eBird, but there could easily have been a lot more than that. Two Belted Kingfishers flying in tandem popped up over the shrub line, flew low over my head, and continued flying down the river. I assume these were a pair, but I did not get a good look at their chest markings.
The recently-released movie, The Big Year, highlights the competitive side of birding, in a particularly extreme form. A North American big year takes skill, but also the time and money to chase birds around the country. My typical experience of birding is a lot more like the paragraph above: appreciation of common birds, with an occasional rarity mixed in. I think that is probably true for a lot of other birders as well.