Big Year Interruptions
by Lynn Barber
When I am doing a serious BIG BIG year, I do not like non-big year interruptions. I very much begrudge the time I spend on events and duties that I just cannot avoid or feel that I must do. I don’t even like to take time to sleep or eat or other things that normal people deem to be essential.
Even birding outings that I would normally look forward to with eagerness are sometimes dreaded as cutting into my big year time. I love to do such things as Christmas bird counts, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and Breeding Bird Surveys, and I do them every year, whether or not I’m doing a big year. But during a big year, part of me is always thinking while I’m birding at the preordained site for a particular count, “I could have let someone else do this” or “I wonder what others are seeing while I’m stuck here birding where no new year birds are likely” or “What am I missing?”.
In my last blog post I discussed the advantages of doing a big year in a county as compared to big years in larger geographic areas. In this post, I would like to add one more reason to my list of reasons to like doing a COUNTY big year instead of a state or ABA big year – I’ve got time to do it all! I don’t feel the pressure, at least now in the mid-winter to be out getting birds for a county big year all the time. I happily participated in the early January Christmas Bird Counts because 2012 and my SD big year was over.
The Great Backyard Bird Count, of all my self-inflicted birding “chores”, is the best of them all for doing during a big year. Because the GBBC lets birders count anywhere as a “backyard”, I can go bird where I want to bird for my particular big year, and count the birds, some of which may actually be new for the year. Thus, on February 15th, the first day of the GBBC this year, I added Bohemian Waxwing to my county big year list while putting together one of my lists for posting on the GBBC web site, and at the same time added it to my life list for Pennington County (SD). On February 16th I added Ferruginous Hawk to my county big year list. After that (right now), due to the fact that a VERY big interruption is about to occur, I did not do much birding for the GBBC. As I write this post, I have tons of real interruptions to my birding, otherwise known as client deadlines that must be met before this very big interruption occurs.
What is this big interruption? When this blog post appears on the ABA blog, I will be birding in Honduras! Finally, after nearly 10 years of not feeling I could take the time (or spare the money after all those big years), I am interrupting my county big year and leaving the US to bird in a foreign land.
Maybe after I return, I’ll interrupt my blog posts about big year matters and talk about Honduras birding.