Birding Resolutions 2015

It is always during a passing state of mind that we make lasting resolutions.—Marcel Proust

Singing Marsh Wren at the Freeport Wetlands, Texas
Singing Marsh Wren in Winter at the Freeport Wetlands Nature Trail and Bird Observatory, Texas. Male Marsh Wrens start imitating songs at 15 days old and continue learning new songs into and throughout adulthood. Could this little guy be practicing his repertoire for a return to his breeding grounds and Courtship 2015? Canon EOS 7D/500mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

Elisa’s Resolution. I absolutely love welcoming in a New Year! I love the “fresh start” feeling—artificial though it may be. I’m also a sucker for an annual plan (I’m the first-born: It’s not my fault!), but only as a scaffold for investigation, adventure, and inspiration. I don’t really DO traditional resolutions because, well, life happens. However, in recognition of flipping the page on the ol’ Gregorian calendar, there are a few beams I’d like to add to the birding and blogging scaffold this year. In the spirit of our friend the Marsh Wren, I plan to get serious about learning more bird songs and to share my experiences in the field more often. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I am an infrequent contributor. (Frequently behind the lens, but not so much the keyboard.) Thankfully, Chris holds down an excellent fort, and hopefully, I’ll lighten his load a bit more this year.

Chris’s Resolution. With the new year comes a time of reflection and goal-setting. When I started the bird photography hobby, I thought of the camera primarily as a tool to better learn birds and document what I saw in the field. But photography, like many technical pursuits, has a way of taking on a life of it’s own. A perusal of the major digital photography blogs, for example, will show how pixel-peeping and endless hand-wringing about high-ISO noise and yadda-yadda-yadda can bleed the life right out of the birding-by-camera hobby (and which is better Canon or Nikon?). I guess gadget-talk is more amenable to the American norm of sowing insecurities to peddle a fix and turn a buck, but I want to get back to birds! I resolve to pick up the ornithology references more and the photography references less. Maybe, once and a while, I’ll leave the 600mm ball-and-chain behind and only take along the binoculars and a notebook (and most important of all—Elisa!).

Snow Geese in Formation over Freeport Wetlands, Texas
Snow Geese in V-Formation over Freeport Wetlands, Texas. The V shape greatly reduces drag force on the skein, making long-distance migrations energetically feasible. It’s all about turbulent flow! Note the nearly even split of white and blue phases (morphs). The ratio of color morphs varies from colony to colony. Canon EOS 7D/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

“I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather optimistic.”–Horace Lamb

©2015 Elisa D. Lewis and Christopher R. Cunningham. All rights reserved. No text or images may be duplicated or distributed without permission.