Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Its over

I understand Jeff..I understand.

Today I woke up for the first time in a year without the need to add birds to my list. It's a strange feeling, one I cannot even remember having. It feels like forever since I could just be a normal person who enjoyed birding. This last year I have lived life in a self inflicted world of artificial competitiveness. Letting go of it will probably take a little getting used to.

"A Common Pigeon! The last bird on my list, so long suckers"
My final total is definitely respectable and although I have many regrets on what I did wrong, and what I should've done differently, I need to just accept the finality of the situation. I should be proud, I think I proved to myself I was good enough as a birder to achieve this. My original goal was 350, at times it seemed like I wasn't going to reach it. Then there were times I let my optimism get the better of me and I felt like I could even break the record. When I hit 350 in late september, I definitely thought I had a chance, but reality soon set in around mid November, 363 is nothing to sneeze at though. 

I could not however reach this number without alot of help, I owe alot to the birders who aided me this year. Namely Russell Cannings, Russell gave me many timely rare bird updates as well as info on finding a lot of the specialty birds like Sage Thrasher and Grasshopper Sparrow. He also gave me encouragement in going after rarities, like when I was in Salmon Arm and he motivated me to drive all the way back to Vancouver for the Red-necked Stint.

Also thanks goes to Mark Phinney who without him I would never have got Nelson's Sparrow, Conneticut and Bay-breasted Warblers. Rob Lyske also helped me out a bunch and he deserves a good congratulations for reaching 250 species for the Metro Vancouver checklist area in one year. Its an impressive achievement. 

Thanks also goes to all the birders in British Columbia who report their sightings to all the different message groups, forums, and bird alerts. British Columbia is interesting in that there are so many sites to keep track of to get all the information, though with the BC Bird alert blog its definitely been made easier.

This year I have travelled the province and its made me realize just how great British Columbia really is. I explored so many new places, and yet there is still so much more left unexplored. the possibilities are endless. My eyes have also been opened to the fact that much of this province is unprotected, and in danger. things like the Site C dam are things which I had never really given much thought to until I drove through the valley which is set to be flooded. I really believe residents in our province would be aghast if they knew exactly what we were going to lose if this ever happens. Sadly when most people live so far away from such places, they tend not to think about it. 

Going forward I want to work on becoming a better birder in my own area, and giving back to the birding community through volunteering. I also will be doing the patchwork challenge for I plan on using Burnaby Lake as my patch and will continue regularly using this blog for updates. I also hopefully will do some bird trips this year hopefully to innuvik and maybe california again.
Thanks to all for reading.


  1. It's been a pleasure following along this year Ryan: Living vicariously through your triumphs and frustrations, and getting to see the province through another crazy birder's eyes. You visited a lot of places I missed out on in 2010 and now I'm hoping I can get to spots like the Rainbow Range in 2014. I don't miss those long overnight drives, sleeping in the car, eating shit-food... but at the same time I do. You probably already know what I mean. Enjoy the relaxation, and patch-birding. Vancouver is one of the best cities in the world for year-round birding I reckon. Even a spot like Burnaby Lake can be a rewarding place to spend a half-day. Every visit is different, and there is something awesome about really getting to KNOW a place well. After driving up and down BC a few times, I wish I could be birding all of it at once... but until time travel is possible, I'm quite happy to be in one lovely place at a time.

    All the best in the future amigo--see ya around!


  2. Thanks Russ, part of me wanted to just keep going and do another big year, but I think its safe to say your record is safe, and much respect to you because now I really know just how much effort it took. Thanks for everything, Glad I got to meet you. Take care