2019 Birding Goals?

~American Kestrel in the black dirt this morning, 01/06/19.~

I’m still not sure what my birding goals or focus will be this year. I know that I would like to reduce the importance of listing in Orange County and branch out a little bit more. I was feeling similarly last year at this time, and as fate would have it, I got on a roll with OC birds and ended up running with it. It’s still a work in progress, but here are some of the things I’d like to focus in 2019:

  • Do more birding out of Orange County, and even NYS for that matter. I love listing, especially in OC, but I’m going to try and take a year off. I’ll still report and keep my lists, it just won’t be the main focal point.
  • Focus more on bird behavior. Often when I run around for birds, I fail to take the time to observe and enjoy their behavior to any large extent.
  • Work on my photography. As I went through all my posts for 2019 (looking for top 10 photos), I felt like maybe I’d taken a step backwards. I didn’t have as many shots that I REALLY liked; maybe I’m getting more and more picky, but that can be a good thing.

So, those are my starting points. But, I’m curious to hear from you: what are your goals for your birding this year? What will you focus on? What is it about birding that makes you the most happy? Do you even think about it in these terms, or do you just go out birding? Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on this… thanks!

~ If you’ve been in the black dirt any time recently, you know there have been loads of American Crows. In spite of that, I rarely ever get an opportunity to photograph them; I think it’s because they are too smart to let us get near enough. Today several stayed put in a tree while the heavy winds blew. American Crow in the black dirt, 01/06/19.~
~You might have noticed that I tend to crop a large percentage of my photos as portraits or squares, as opposed to landscape. The reason for this is that those two crops read much better in this blog theme. I prefer this photo to the top one, but it did not lend itself to the crop I prefer. American Kestrel fighting a strong wind in the black dirt, 01/06/19.~

12 thoughts on “2019 Birding Goals?”

  1. Beautiful Kestrel images, Matt!
    I like your goals. I need to increase my “mindfulness”, sit quietly and observe birds in their habitat and photograph as such. And study GULLS!!!

    1. Thanks Deb, I like your goals too. Especially studying gulls – it reminded me that I need to study and learn birds more. It’s time to take it to the next level and start learning plumages better. It’s actually one of my favorite things about birding; there is always more to learn. Good stuff, thanks for checking in. Matt

  2. Your kestrel photos on that rusted metal are superb! Birding is more and more becoming my main pursuit in nature – the reason for going out hiking and encountering lots of other phenomena in addition to birds. I plan to focus on one of my weaknesses, trying to improve on shorebird identification through the seasons. Spending more time on behavior and just watching individuals interact with their habitat is sure to be rewarding, so I hope to do more of that too.
    Thanks for keeping this great blog going!

    1. Thanks Michael, I usually don’t go for man made perches, but this one works for me. Oh yeah, improving shorebird identification… I will definitely join you in that endeavor. I enjoy and feel like I do alright with shorebirds, but I need to get to the next level and get really learn the details of different species/plumages. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog and I’ll keep it up! Matt

  3. I love both your photos of the American Kestrel, Matt, especially how the salmon color on his back and the pipe tie the two subjects together. They are such beautiful images. As to my goals for the year, I have several. I want to continue working to build up the numbers at Glenmere Lake Park and to discover what species are nesting there. I think it has so much potential to be an Orange County Hotspot. I want to improve my skills at identifying shorebirds because I remain weak in that area; and I would also like to bump up my Orange County Life List numbers, without concentrating on a Year List. Oh, and my last, but perhaps most important goal, is to just enjoy being in the outdoors observing wildlife and their natural habitats and sharing the joy of discovery with my birding friends.

    1. I’m excited about your goals for Glenmere Park – it’s such a great spot and we are lucky to have someone like you birding it so regularly. I’ll add you to the list for shorebird improvement, lol. I’m always hoping to increase my OC life list too – hopefully this year will produce some interesting birds we can both add. Just getting outdoors really has been a goal of mine since I started birding – it’s the ultimate stress relief and escape from everyday woes. I usually prefer to bird alone, but then how many times have I been out and seen something great and wished someone else was there to share it? Excellent goals, all of them, thanks for checking in. Matt

  4. Hi Matt – Once again , LOVE seeing your photos … the kestrel is magnificent !
    As to birding goals … I have been thinking about repeating something that I did several years ago -I called it my “Modified Big Year “ . What I had to do was to go birding in a completely new spot each of the 12 months of the year … this forced me to branch out and explore more … I tried to subsequently do this again but I was to go to a completely new spot in the state of New York … but it fell apart mid-year … I have been trying to come up with a new concept … thinking about Pennsylvania since it isn’t too far away –
    Anyway , one of my resolutions for this year is to simply get outside EVERY weekend – no matter what – to hike , bird , or just sit, listen , and watch ….
    Thanks for asking this question because it has refocused me on choosing a goal for myself , and I have enjoyed reading the goals of others !

    1. A “Modified Big Year”, I like that; it’s always fun to explore new spots. I was discussing something similar recently with Rob Stone, where we would focus a good amount of our birding time and energy into finding new spots in Orange County. It’s a big county when you think of it, and there must be some undiscovered gems out there. Same goes for PA, and like you said, it’s so close. I’ll be interesting to hear if you pursue that, how it goes. Enjoy getting out as often as you can, I know I’ll be doing the same. Matt

  5. When your on overload and chasing a goal you forget the beauty of where you are and the habits of nature . Slow down. Take a chair, sit and watch. Listen to the sounds. Nature will come to you. You have the skills. Your out there often enough. Finding new places to go helps. Try a new approach to capturing what ever it may be. I have some ideas of new locations I’ll share with you.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Renee. Thanks for your thoughts, I will definitely take you up on your ideas for new locations. Matt

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