Starting Anew

By josh • 251 Birds, Nature, Wildlife • 1 Jan 2013

I do love January 1st, when even Canada Geese and Starlings may be greeted with pleasure.  When will I spot my first House Sparrow of the year?  The anticipation is killing me.

2013 is off to an auspicious beginning- the first bird to arrive in my yard was a Common Redpoll.

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll
South Burlington, Vermont
January 2013
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 640

Having resisted the temptation of an easy “looking back at 2012” post, I’ve succumbed to a “looking forward to 2013” post instead.  I won’t call them resolutions (because calling me “resolute” about them is a bit strong) but I have a number of personal goals for the coming year, many of which are directly or tangentially related to the content here.  Caution: self-indulgence follows, so here’s a random Great Egret by way of apology.

Great Egret

Great Egret
Shelburne, Vermont
June 2012
Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/1250s, ISO 400


  • Write more. Write even if it is bad, and even if you have nothing to say.  It doesn’t have to be shared, it’s the act that is important.
  • Shoot more.  No excuses about weather or light or exhaustion.  When time permits, make photographs.
  • Don’t apologize for avocation.  If a creative outlet is important for your wellbeing, create.  Work for good without expectation.  However fulfillment comes, pursue it, and don’t worry about whether it relates to how you earn your living.


  • Re-expand the repertoire.  Engage again with landscape and architectural photography, odd hours be damned.
  • Create more dynamic nature images- birds in flight, better-lit plant studies, and insect macros.


  • Get up to speed on odonata and lepidoptera and become more proficient with tree ID.
  • Read “Hawks In Flight” until it sticks.


  • Bird another 25 towns for the 251 Birds project.
  • Knock off some Vermont nemeses, particularly Boreal Chickadee, Least Bittern, and Common Gallinule
  • Finally get around to going after Bicknell’s Thrush, and find Swainson’s Thursh while you’re at it.
  • Find at least 200 species in Vermont and 165 in Chittenden County.  Add at least 40 to the life list.

This last should be interesting.  I finished 2012 with 192 for Vermont and 157 in Chittenden County.  I missed some easy ones in Chittenden County.  I’m hoping a late spring pelagic trip and a trip to the eastern Sierra in the fall will bring a good lifer haul.  I added 14 to my life list in 2012, only one of which was outside Vermont.  13 in-state seems improbable, but hopefully the travel will make up for it.

And so, onward, and a blessed 2013 to all!


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