Now into my fourth year of birdwatching, I am only just considering New Year’s resolutions. I’ve come up unwritten vague goals in the past. Hardly anything came of them, unsurprisingly. But writing/typing words down has a general psychological effect, and I do try keep up my blog consistently, hence… I was inspired to create a post after reading The Birdist’s recent contribution to National Audubon’s news site.
1a. Taking off from The Birdist’s first goal, I should not only re-learn warbler songs, but remember them. I can replay a couple easier songs in my head, such as the Yellow, the Prairie, and the American Redstart. I can do better than this, being an amateur musician. I plan to listen to different audio recordings repeatedly. I have a CD from a Saw Mill River Audubon workshop and I must take advantage of Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library. Viewing Lang Elliot’s YouTube videos would also be constructive; this would help me to associate the sound with an image.
1b. I should get out more during the high point of spring migration. Westchester County mostly sees migrants. I want to observe warblers more often, and especially get more and better looks of the ones I have on my life list (at least 10, but the top ones are Cerulean, Hooded, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, and Canada). I need to see an Ovenbird and a Tennessee, which I’ve only heard. I also need to see an adult Louisiana Waterthrush – I tentatively added this waterthrush to my life list having seen a fledgling once. Adding new species isn’t much of a concern, but I’m always happy with surprise lifers. I already have a couple hotspots in mind – Doodletown, Fahnestock – but I’m going to research into more.
2. Inspired by eBird, I will visit a location every week. I have one in mind and am already at it. As far as I can tell from eBird, I’m the only person to submit checklists for this location. Since it’s not an official hotspot, I will not mention it here. The road rather private and dangerous to drive on, but it runs adjacent to the Croton Reservoir. From what I’ve seen a couple times last winter, this location has good ducks. I wonder what else is there….
3. Get over my anxiety about driving by myself to long-distance places I’ve never been to. Reviewing directions and a map is not enough to assuage my anxiety. I don’t have one of those phones with a built-in GPS, so I need to purchase a GPS. Just in case if I feel like chasing a bird alone.
4. Be more involved in my local chapter. As of this week, I’m an interim board member. I’ve yet to see where I stand exactly, though I wish to donate my time to a couple things. One: Lead or co-lead walks for adults and/or children, thus bringing more people into birdwatching and becoming more aware of birds and environmental conservation. Two: aid in taking care of our sanctuaries. Three: reach out to the public about native and invasive plants, and about planting natives in one’s garden/yard to benefit birds. (Maybe also spread how horrible lawns are. Death to lawns.) And with concerning Number 3, I need to familiarize myself more with invasives and identify them in the field all year round.