I haven’t seen it yet, but Connor told me he saw the white and blue banded Song Sparrow back in our yard today. The last I saw it this year was on 11 April. Last year it was not seen between 10 April and 5 September.
I spent some time today adding entries from June 1998. These were journal entries I actually wrote originally by hand and then later posted them to my website in a somewhat blog-like fashion. I thought it would be nice to just have all of those sorts of journal entries in one place, so I’ll probably do the same with the rest of my journals up to the time I switched over to this site and weblog format entirely in 2007.
There have been several things that I’ve found interesting about reading through the old journals. For the most part, those first ones were pretty brief. That’s due in part to the fact that I was writing them by hand, something that’s hard for me to do too much of. Also, I have reasonably clear memories of the outings, despite the fact they took place 16+ years ago.
That time period was when I think I really took significant steps down the path towards my obsession with the natural history of this area. Prior to that I did some hiking, but mostly just to get out (and up) because I enjoyed the country. I do remember trying to take some pictures of flowers while hiking with a point and shoot the year or two prior, but they didn’t turn out well, and I didn’t spend much time with them. However, in 1998 purchased my first SLR (my first digital camera was the next year), and I was more successful getting pictures of flowers, and trying to take pictures of birds. At that time I recognized and/or knew names of very few things, and it was fairly common for me to notice things that were ‘new-to-me’ despite probably having walked by them many times before.
Comparing that time and my memories of those wanders and hikes with now, I think I was more energetic and/or less easily distracted by all the things there are to find. I think I did not tend to get out as often, but when I did go, I tended to go further with much fewer stops. I think it might be worth trying to mix back in some of these longer outings. As I near 40, it’s easy to feel less ambitious about distance and elevation gain since it takes more effort to maintain the conditioning that makes such trips much more enjoyable, so probably the key is to make a regular practice of it.