Posting year-in-review entries on December 31st seems to be the thing to do among bird bloggers, so here is my humble offering, interspersed with some of my favorite birds from 2014.
2014 was a good year for me in many ways, and in birding it wasn’t too bad. I only had 17 life birds this year, but traveling to Michigan and North Carolina gave me some pretty great ones. 2014 was also my first full year in my new home county of Allen, Indiana, and while I was not accumulating life birds at the rate I was in 2012 (when I consider my breakout year to becoming a real birder) or 2013 (when I had an less than respectable attempt at an Indiana big year), I was able to flesh out my county and state (and yard) lists.
2014 was also supposed by be my “Strategic Year,” where I chose 12 hard-to-find species, mostly species of special concern in Indiana, and set out to find them specifically. I heard one of 12 and saw zero of 12.
I realize I still have a long way to go in improving my birding skills with a life list at only 237 species, but doing these challenges keeps things interesting for me, because birding is a hobby first and foremost, and if a hobby is not enjoyable, then why do it? Sure, I could be studying field marks among 2nd-year gulls more than I am now, but it’s way more fun to do things like the Taken For Granted Challenge, in which I lost spectacularly to The Laurence back in November.
With that mindset, my new challenge to myself in 2015 will be to keep a motorless list, a la Flycatcher Jen. For various life-based reasons, my birding will be limited to the backyard, walks around the neighborhood, and my local park more than ever before, so this might be a natural thing to do. Starting at home, I will only count birds that I walked or biked (or maybe canoed) to find. I don’t have a goal in mind, but any new list is fun.
Good birding to you all, and see you in 2015!