Day 342 - Taking Pictures and Making Excuses

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

Currently, of the 355 species I've seen and or heard this year, I have photographed 325. I missed a few... And There are a few I'll still get. There are actually 10 species I've already seen and/or heard this year that I haven't photographed that I think I can track down again in the next few weeks. At a minimum I imagine I will get 4 of those, while the other 6 might prove too much work--but we'll just wait and see. I've also audio recorded 5 other species that I didn't get pictures of--possibly even a 6th and 7th when I finally go back and download and listen to everything. That would bring me to 336 species documented in one physical form or another this year. Not bad. I would like that number to have been higher and really have only myself to blame.

For instance, one family of birds of which I got 5 members--all relatively easy to photograph--I only got photos of one of the species. For two of the species the light was really bad for photos--in another light + distance made for poor conditions, while on the 4th species the bird was too quick for me to get a shot before I lost it in the bushes. I planned on tracking 3 of the 4 species down again for photos after the fact, but time just got the better of me. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much time I can spend birding. This meant I was spread too thin sometimes to be able to make things happen how I otherwise would have liked.

Aside from those 4 birds, I had several audibles I didn't record of birds I didn't see--the audibles are unmistakable and from locations where the species are encountered regularly. With both I again thought I would have another opportunity later--but it never materialized. Next were the 4 common songbirds I failed to put my camera lens on for one reason or another. I saw most of these birds multiple times but failed to take a picture. Throw in the flyovers, short looks, or hard to photograph birds and altogether 22 species will have escaped my lens this year. That's actually only 6%--I'm okay with that, and the years not over so who knows if I might bring that number up to 335--or even 340. Of course, I would expect my year total to increase to the 357 to 363 range for that to happen!

I did my best to document my year for several reasons. First, is that no one knows I am doing this, and I will want to tell a story at some point with those pictures. Second, it's nice to have documentation to support sightings. The more uncommon the birds, the better, but in a big year it is fun to see what you can manage. I'm a birder first and a photographer second. I want to see and identify the bird, then follow up with a photo for good measure. If I don't get the photo that sucks, but at least I got a good look or "hear". As long as this isn't the case with every bird I feel okay with the ones I missed. The third reason is that since I didn't report a number of birds, I am going to need those photos to help with my claims/checklists when I eventually submit them. There are going to be eBird reviewers out there shaking their heads wondering why all the sudden 25-30 checklists spaced out over the year including rare birds, and unreported birds are showing up in their queue.

I'd like to point out I'm not a professional photographer, so while some of my photos turned out pretty good and will make for a great part of my story--a lot are garbage, taken through spotting scopes, binoculars, in low light, in back light, in harsh light, in thick foliage, in waves on water, etc, etc, etc. I

While I could have done a better job, I think I managed to do enough to have a fair percentage of my sightings backed up with evidence. This is something that was basically impossible with big years prior to the 2000's, and may be the future of some big years--the potential for a photo big year being a new normal? Who knows.

At the end of this year, I'll go back to taking fewer pictures of more cooperative birds, and not feel the need to snap snap snap every single bird I see--or to worry about it. I also won't be counting how many I photograph in 2017 which should be a bit of a relief as well.

New birds today: 0
Year List: 355


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