Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wishing and hoping

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.

10 comments:

Woodswalker said...

Good luck with your birding. I hope you do as well as you did capturing the beauty of a sunrise in your photo. Exquisite!

Scott said...

Great sunrise image, Carolyn. Kali and I are giving very serious consideration to going to Brigantine (Forsythe NWR) this Saturday (which will, of course, still be in 2011). A friend visited there last week and saw beaucoups waterfowl, so it made me want to think about going, too. My friend didn't see anything that Kali and I don't already have on our life lists--except for a Peregrine Falcon; I hope I'll recognize one if I go and it's there. I haven't been to Brigantine in nearly 20 years, so it'll be a nice getaway regardless--if we go.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: i haven't been to Brigantine in years either--don't much care for the drive from here. A peregrine is always a great bird and I hope you see one. If not, they are seen fairly regularly in the spring and fall at Bombay Hook--and that's a much easier drive for me. Big birds. Good luck!

Emille said...

Good luck with your top slot(funny, you struck me as opposite from competitive!)! Thanks for following my Artistique blog, and I'm going to look you up on Facebook -i go there by Jesh StGermain(my artist name). All the best to you for 2012:)

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Great photo. I haven't really got started on a list for the last couple of years. Good luck for 2012!

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: Likely as not, real life will outstrip my ability to see more birds than anyone else in 2012. But, as the new year hasn't started yet, I still have hope for better birding in 2012 than I had in 2011!

Carolyn H said...

Emille: It's easy to be competitive before the race has even begun! T minus 2 days and counting!

Carolyn H said...

John: I have a couple of non-starter years for birding, too. My interest and time for birding waxes and wanes a bit. That's just how life goes, I guess.

Cicero Sings said...

What gorgeous colours in that photo!

Scott said...

Carolyn:

We went to Brigantine(2 hour drive) and DID see a Peregrine having "lunch" on an Osprey nesting platform! We also saw Brants, which were also "life listers" for us! It was a fine day.