Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Staying Positive

It's official: I am cancelling my Big Year.

Many reasons, but mostly, the repairs to the van have not been as easy and cheap as I had hoped. I didn't have a ton of money saved, since this was a Big Year "on a whim"... so the van repairs have eaten through the savings. Ever since the wreck in Minnesota, things are going wrong.

So, this week repairs are finishing up. New tires, brakes, rotors, axle work, wheel bearings, radiator, and hopefully the front end damage can also be repaired, though that's just cosmetic.

This does not mean that all birding trips are suspended. I still have plans to travel a little this year to bird. It's just no longer a Big Year. I plan on tackling a Big Year in 2015 instead, with about twenty thousand saved, and the ability to go to Alaska (maybe twice!). Next year- it will also be an official ABA Big Year.

That all being said- I will still be updating the blog with plenty of birding trip information- and possibly more! Thank you all for reading and following. I wouldn't keep this all up if it wasn't for you!

Until next time....
Happy birding to all of you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Identity Crisis

So, I was out shooting birds the other day (with my camera, don't worry!) at Ditto Landing in Huntsville. Normally, I don't go to this spot, just because it's more of a recreational spot and I like the empty, more secluded spots that don't have crowds of folks or lots of fishermen/hunters. But, there's a nice paved trail along the river and a small group of American Coots that are friendly and will approach for good photograph opportunities.

My walk down the paved trail yields nothing but hidden views of Cardinals, Titmice, and Brown Thrashers, so I decide to head back to the docks at the landing. Here, about eight American Coots would surround the dock and allow me to take beautiful pictures of them.

I stopped for a bit, mostly to rest my arm as my new combination (lens/body) is much heavier than I'm used to and I didn't have my arm propped very well. As I sat there, I realized something.

Coots are amazing birds!

Most folks wouldn't think twice about a Coot... dull, black... usually hundreds of them in every given spot of water... but, just sit and watch them. I have this theory that you can't really enjoy birds until you start to appreciate the most basic, common ones you see. This has held true for me.

Sitting there I thought about all sorts of things- but mostly, I started to identify with Coots. Feeling overlooked and plain... passed over for flashy, better-looking people. How many people have passed me by, never saying a word, simply because I didn't stand out to them?

I'm a Coot. Chunky, a tad plain, but beautiful in my own right. I'm talkative (sit and listen to Coots... they never shut up!), social, funny, only fly if I have to, and brave. I honestly couldn't think of a better bird that fits me.

There's something to be said for making personal realizations about yourself while doing the one thing you love more than anything. It brought up a lot of emotion, and a lot of happiness. I'm proud to be a Coot, because that means the people who realize my beauty are the kind of people who I want in my life... not the ones who pass me over for something aesthetically "better".

So, I went back to shooting, when this Coot came up and checked me out. Now, I'm not going to be cheesy and say we had a connection- but hey, maybe he knew I was a Coot too.

What bird do you identify with? Feel free to share in the comments.

Stay tuned for my Ohio and Arizona trip reports later in March/April.

And, as always... Until next time- Happy birding to all of you!