Friday, November 29, 2013

Introduction - Why a birding blog?

My life is packed with enough commitments to produce a standard of busyness that qualifies one to live in Chicago's claustrophobic suburbia. Two jobs and the pursuit of a second Masters degree fill many of my waking hours with meetings, assignments, and other meetings and assignments. While I genuinely enjoy all the things I'm involved in, I don't love the busyness. I'm not from the Midwest, or the suburbs, and after six years of living in the region, I still haven't developed much of a taste for either. Having grown up in Spokane, WA, I'm accustomed to natural beauty and a slower pace of life, both of which have mostly eluded me while living in here. But I begin to recapture both when I'm out birding.

My love for birding reaches back to my early days when the spectacle of Bald Eagles and thrill of chasing Snowy Owls with my dad first piqued my interest (you can learn a little more at the About Me link). This interest has ebbed and flowed over the years (read: "I went to college and didn't have the time for a few years"), but at my current station in life, it's as strong as it's ever been. Birding has now turned into some combination of a robust hobby and a welcome escape for me. Some days I get out to chase rarities or bolster state and county lists. Some days I get out for a breath of fresh air.

And now, some days I'll be writing about my excursions here. I've greatly benefited from the work that fellow birders have put into their blogs, and I figure I'd at least like to attempt to be a contributing voice to the growing online community of birders. This is not a Big Year blog, though I do have a couple lofty goals for 2014 which will be unfolding throughout my posts here. I'm going to use this space to pontificate about the pleasures and pains, validity and vanity, and reasons and risks related to birding. I plan to discuss everything from ID issues to equipment preferences. I also enjoy nature photography and will be breaking up my long-winded posts with some combination of digiscoped record shots and close-ups of cooperative specimens. You can see my work on Flickr here.

I'll end this first post with one of my favorite shots from this fall:

Connecticut Warbler
Montrose, Cook Co, IL
September 8, 2013