18. kesäkuuta 2020

Six months in - A new direction

When I started here, it was so I could get a better understanding of the woods I frequently hiked in. I was new to the US and almost everything was unknown, I didn’t even know what poison ivy looked like, which from a self preservation point of view, was not good!

I started in the depths of winter, not much to observe. On reflection, it was a perfect time to start, I only had a handful of subjects to observe and quickly got to know Partridge Berry, Japanese Barberry, Wintergreens, Christmas fern and other hardy over wintering plants. I did try figuring out what the trees were, which was easy for Hemlocks and Cedars but impossible for Oaks and Maples. Occasionally I would find the seeds from Tulip Trees and Sweet Gum but couldn’t match with their parent.

As time passed I started to measure the seasons in weeks rather than months, the passage of time marked by nature, the first Skunk Cabbage flower, the first Chipmunk Chirp. When I wasn’t in the woods, I would occasionally photograph and post the birds visiting my feeders. Although common, I still enjoy seeing Red Cardinals and Blue Jays.

Then one day, I received a message, thanking me for my contribution. I didn’t know at the time, but I was the top observer in my local reserve. I discovered projects and areas and became a little obsessed. I wanted to be number one! (I’m 49 years old, but still a child inside). It took me a couple of weeks and I was the top observer in my county, then a couple of months to log the most species. Then I started looking at adjacent counties. I was visiting them anyway, hiking and exploring. But now I was trying to find different habitats. I would follow streams, clamber of rocky outcrops, head south and west to grassland reserves.

Then I lost my way . . . I became more focused on the numbers. But now every step on every trail had dozens of plants. I still wanted to catalogue and record what I saw, so mentally set my self checklists. I wouldn’t shoot the same plant twice in each kilometre I walked. Then I would see a particularly fine specimen and break that rule. And yesterday, on a hike, I realised I was bone tired. On a typical day, I was driving for an hour, hiking all day, driving home, spending a couple of hours editing and uploading. In addition, I was running the house, cooking, cleaning, etc. I was chasing numbers and it wasn’t making me happy.

I still want to find new species. I will still explore new areas. I’m going to remain active here. My goal is to take far few pictures of a higher quality. I want to seek out the best examples I can find and spend time composing and framing. I have a love of photography and producing black and white art. So occasionally I’ll shoot for that purpose rather than posting here.

It’s also time for me to start helping with the identification process for others. I’m still very new but there are certain species I feel I know very well.

Thank you to everyone who has identified my uploads and those of you who have contacted me directly, given me help and advice.



Lähetetty 18. kesäkuuta 2020 17:12 käyttäjältä kitmonster kitmonster | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti