Friday, 22 February 2013

A Big Year

Since watching the film ‘The Big Year’, about a group of twitchers competing to see how many different species of North American bird they can see in one calendar year, I have found myself increasingly intrigued by the idea. So come the morning of January 1st 2013 (see how I have adopted the American format of month before year there - I’ll be high five-ing before I know it), I decided to give my own Big Year a bash. The diversity of birds I see wandering by my door here in Northern California still continues to amaze me, so I thought I would be onto a bit of a sneaky head start. I wasn’t wrong, check out my field notes from my rather uninformed bird watching.

Those who know a thing or two about bird watching, or indeed a thing or two more than me, will know that I can now consider well and truly checked off my Big Year list the following:
  • Seagull - with black bits
  • Seagull - doing cute funny walk
  • Wren - proper one, that one
  • Group of wading birds - medium size
  • Duck - strayed into shot but still counts
  • Flying bird - Pelican, particularly pleased with this one
  • Soaring bird - big black

Again those who know a thing or two about bird watching, or indeed anything, will see that I have chosen to use my own unique naming system for the wildlife that I have encountered thus far. My lack of adequate avian vocabulary has forced me to resort to making best use of the limited vocabulary that I do have at my disposal, in much the same way as taking a cab ride in a foreign country can usually be accomplished with just the words ‘airport’ and ‘please’. Unfortunately in much the same way as ‘airport’ and ‘please’ are ok as long as the airport is the only destination you want to go to, the words, ‘big’, ‘medium’, ‘small’, ‘white’, ‘black’ and ‘grey bits’ are soon likely to reach their limits of adequate bird description potential. I need to educate myself - it is time for an English to Bird Watcher translation dictionary...

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