|Along Mt. Airy Rd. - gorgeous sunrise light|
Now that Christmas is over, with no more presents to be bought or opened, no more food to be cooked or eaten, my mind automatically turns to what comes next. For me, this means the start of a new year and with that, the start of a new bird list.
For many years I’ve been atop the Ebird listings in my home county. My county is where I have always done the bulk of my birding. I haven’t the means or the time to travel any further than that to maintain a sighting list. Even so, for the last few years, family and work obligations have kept me from doing much birding. EBird, that Cornell database of bird sightings from literally everywhere, has also become more popular and more used. Those two facts combined to drop me further down the leaderboard than I am used to finding myself.
Now truth be told, I am not much of a lister when it comes to my bird sightings. But I am rather competitive, so finding my name further down than the top of the list simply does not sit well with me. As a result, I am planning to start 2012 with some serious birding, in hopes that during the new year I will have again have the time to put into keeping my name atop the county list.
This week I am planning my assault to regain my top slot. That means figuring out where I will bird over January 1 and 2, planning the route and configuring the GPS to get me from here to there in the fastest time possible. It means having the camera ready to record anything exotic or so unusual that no one will believe that I saw it without documentation. It means studying and re-studying my bird books to make sure I can quickly ID every distant and fast-moving speck of a bird in an instant (ha!).
Now I have no idea if work, family and better birders will keep me from seriously working my list in 2012, but I’m determined to get a good start on the year. York County is not a birder’s paradise, either, so those of us crazed enough to seriously bird here (likely for the same reasons I have—lack of means and time) will never be at the same level of competition as those souls from, say, Cape May County in New Jersey.
None of that is the point. The point is I can start a new list with the new year and maybe, just maybe, in 2012 I will get to see oodles of really good birds. And see my name back at the top of the county list again. Hope—that’s what the new year always brings.