Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: A Birding Year in Review

At the beginning of this year, I posted some birding resolutions for the coming year. Well, it's our last blog post of the year, and I think it's a good time to look back at some of those goals and see just how much we accomplished, as well as setting some new ones. Were they mostly amateurnifails or amateurnisuccesses? It's a time for reflection, a time for introspection, it's the amateurnithologist year in review.

1) Take a picture of a Golden Eagle

Amateurnithologist should have set this goal as 'take a million pictures of bald eagles' since it was really their year. I saw them probably a dozen times this year, but never even spotted a golden eagle. This goal will have to continue forward, since I still totes wanna see that bird.

2) See a Roseate Spoonbill

Status: Semi-success
Well, I definitely got to see this bird, and I even got a picture of it, so maybe it's a full success. But I just can't get over how disappointing it is that I didn't have my good 'birdin camera' on this very eventful trip to Florida. It broke shortly beforehand and I had to use a backup, hence why there haven't been many pictures from it post to the blog. We're a victim of our commitment to quality here on Bird Blog. Next year maybe I will get a picture of a Spoonbill worth a portraiture entry.

3) Get a good picture of a Vulture

Status: Good Job!
Actually was able to knock the whole North American Vulture Family off the blog list this year, with solid entries for both Black and Turkey Vultures. It was most exciting that I finally got to find some at rest and take intimate portraiture shots that you don't often see of these birds. Condors, my 'reach goal', were not to be had, but they were always unlikely.

4) Blog about more ducks

Status: Duckcess!
We managed to get a few good ducks on the blog in this year, and have several more in the queue. Most importantly, I paid more attention to ducks in my day to day birding, and as a result got quite a few interesting ones, including the inexplicable Lake Merritt Tufted Duck and the Surf Scoter that was my 'duck to look for'.

5)  Track down the elusive Snail Kite

Status: DID NOT DO
Yeah, when I went and visited his home, there were simply no raptors to be seen. I think I'd need to dedicate a lot more energy to finding this guy, and frankly he doesn't seem worth it. If Snail Kite happens, he happens, if not, I'm willing to let this one go. I did get a ton of other raptors this year, many of which will be blogged about in the new year, including the above Merlin.

6) Find a Painted Bunting

Status: Welllllll... 
This Painted Bunting Pic (PBP) was taken by Amateurnithologist's mom at Green Cay Wetlands in Florida. So, since I worded the goal 'find the Painted Bunting', you could call it a success. I now know where he is. However, never one to rest on his laurels, the Amateurnithologist will not be satisfied until he sees one himself and can put a quality picture of it up on the blog. Next year Painted Bunting, next year!

Total Success Rate: 50%
I'd say halfway getting to your new years resolutions is better than most people manage, so I'm going to call this one a success. So, just to recap, what am I going to be trying to do in 2015? I think this year's goals are going to be mostly local, trying to take in the rarer birds that I know are here, but haven't gotten to see yet. It will the year of the California bird.

Three goals that carry forward
1. Golden Eagle
2. Califonia Condor
3. Painted Bunting

and three new ones
4. Audubon Society blog (expertly named Audublog) posted recently about Owling California. It seems California is positively lousy with the things. I'm a huge owl fan, as seen in entries about the Barn and Burrowing Owls, and would be excited to get, let's say... Two More Owls this year.
5. Sitting nearly right under your Bird Blogger's nose are the Farrallon Islands one of the great birding destinations. You don't need to travel half way around the world to see Puffins, and this year, I'm hoping to get out there by boat and capture some images of Tufted Puffins.
6. Road Runner. I just want a picture of a road runner. He lives in, like, all of our deserts. Let's make it happen.

Thanks for joining us on this journey, loyal readers. Join us next year for another fantastic year of birding amateurishly.


  1. Wow, Willets, Godwits, Snowy where was this taken?

  2. Arrowhead Marsh at the MLK Regional Shoreline in Oakland. Great spot, also got Ridgeway's Rail, Black Scoter, and Burrowing Owl there.