Two years ago I spent the entire year trying to find and photograph as many species as I possibly could in Palm Beach County Florida. It was a fantastic year with lots of amazing birds, fantastic friends and great discoveries but in the end it was really just one list with only one goal in mind.
This past year I didn’t keep any yearly lists at all. I’ve kept daily lists and posted many of them to Ebird but there was no set goal and I just birded my yard and Green Cay Wetlands most of the time. I didn’t chase many birds and only went to Merritt Island, Fort Desoto and Everglades NP a couple of times each for the entire year.
I did ride my bike more this year but not as much as I should have and have come to realize that I truly enjoy “Green” birding as I usually do see and experience more on the bike and the exercise is an added bonus. Last January I said I was going to try to do a Green Big Year but it never got off the ground due to among other things getting married and settling into our new home.
Doing the Big Year two years ago I came to realize I really enjoy keeping lists and having goals so this year having been motivated by the ABA’s Lynn Barber http://blog.aba.org/2013/07/double-the-pleasure.html and Ted Floyds http://blog.aba.org/2013/06/my-big-year.html (which by the way is also one of the best articles I read last year) I am going to keep a bunch of different lists and have a number of different goals mainly which is to just have fun with it!
The lists will include … County Green List (whatever I can get by biking), County and State lists (I will try to travel/chase much more this year) and a bunch of patch lists that I can reach by bike such as (Green Cay, Wakadohatchee, Loxahatchee, Pond Hawk etc…) This way every time I go out I can be looking to add to a list or exploring more on my bike. I know there are hundreds of spots I can get to on the bike and I look forward to exploring the areas closer to home more thoroughly.
I am going to deviate a tiny bit from my usual challenge of photographing everything for every list. There are many birds that are so regular that no one will doubt that I saw it or not. Just a couple of examples are… White Ibis, Northern Mockingbirds or Boat-tailed Grackles. These birds are so conspicuous that one should see them even on non-birding days!
The way I intend to keep each list is that after listing a bird I will put a “P” next to its name if I have photographed it. The only list that I will do my normal way will be the County Green Big Year as I don’t think anyone has ever posted a “Green” list for the County and I love documenting everything so there are no questions.
I’ve downloaded an App for my phone to track my bike rides and have started to outfit my bike so I can do some longer rides on my days off. The only way I can get to places like Boynton Beach Inlet is on a day off as it will be a 40-50 mile roundtrip.
I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays no matter how they celebrate and I am really looking forward to the New Year and new adventures!!