New Year’s introspection

snow in the meadow

I planned to take a leisurely hike this afternoon, perhaps over to the 100-acre woods, but was thwarted by the weather, which was gray and drizzly all day. I did still go out, but it was just a quick stroll to the back of the property and back. My tolerance for being wet runs about even with that of a cat, and it’s only either great discipline or guilt that drives me outside in the rain. It’s too bad about the rain, which meant not only did I leave my camera in the house but also there wasn’t much to photograph, because the mild temperature this afternoon probably would have encouraged some interesting insects or other observations. Oh well. In lieu of that, I’m revisiting the lists I made last year.

I was quite ambitious in my New Year’s undertaking last year, writing an epic ten top-10 lists on 2009 observations and 2010 goals. It took me two days to complete, and quite a lot of brainpower, a surprising amount for what really didn’t require very much research. I’m afraid I’m not going to go to that depth this year.

I led with a list of my first 10 species of birds observed last year, on January 1. I made the same list again this year. Both years the majority of my observations have been made at our feeders, so it’s not much of a surprise that the lists look very similar…

2009:
1. Black-capped Chickadee
2. Downy Woodpecker
3. White-breasted Nuthatch
4. Northern Cardinal
5. Dark-eyed Junco
6. Hairy Woodpecker
7. American Goldfinch
8. Blue Jay
9. American Tree Sparrow
10. European Starling

2010:
1. Black-capped Chickadee (surprise!)
2. Red-breasted Nuthatch
3. Blue Jay
4. American Tree Sparrow
5. White-breasted Nuthatch
6. Downy Woodpecker
7. Dark-eyed Junco
8. American Goldfinch
9. Hairy Woodpecker
10. Common Raven

Last year I saw a cardinal and a starling in my first ten; this year I’ve thus far seen neither, but I have, instead, seen Red-breasted Nuthatch and raven (not the dog, though her too). These lists have little meaning beyond simple curiosity, a fun game to play on New Year’s Day, and this will likely be the extent of my listing for the year (any attempts I make to keep a list usually fall quickly by the wayside). But that’s okay.

Of my targets that I laid out for 2010, I met surprisingly few of them. I only made it to two of my ten target destinations; I saw just three of ten target bird species, two non-bird targets, and one moth target; and I met only two of the goals I set for myself for the year. So really, there isn’t much need to do up new lists – I could just repeat last year’s!

Of course, my biggest achievement last year was the submission of the manuscript for the field guide to moths. We’re still working on it, and will be involved with it for a while yet, but the largest body of effort is completed. I’m looking forward to watching it come together. I also have a few other projects on the go that I hope will come to fruition, with a bit of luck and/or perseverance. It should be a fun year!

I hope 2011 looks equally promising for all of you!

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2 responses to “New Year’s introspection

  1. My new year has begun well: this morning I saw half a dozen Common Redpolls under the sunflower seed feeder, a new entry on my Backyard Birds list.

    With your new winter boots and snowshoes, it sounds like you’ll be better equipped than ever to handle inclement weather. Happy New Year!

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