Somewhere in the midst of the sudden desire to drive an hour and a half to see Hudsonian Godwits I realized I must be in the "Birding" category.
Or maybe I realized it when I pulled my car over in a McDonald's parking lot to see Chipping Sparrows just to push my "Birding from the car on the trip to Michigan list" one higher.
White Throated Sparrow: much cooler than a Chipping SparrowOr perhaps it was when I was eaten alive for a Blackburnian Warbler by mesquitos, or chased down by a pissed off Female Ruffed Grouse.
While I still maintain birding should be about more than just a number - it's hard not to get excited about a number when I'm just 3 away from achieving the 300 life birds in North America that I never thought I'd get. Last summer I was thrilled to get 200 ABA birds. This year I feel like I could "easily" get to 400 at the rate I'm going.
I should sit down and add in my Trinidad Birds - I can't imagine my number once I throw those in too.
While I know that the word "easy" is a streatch, I can't help but see how much my birding skills have improved. I can spot birds, hear the call, sometimes even recognize what it is by call when I've never seen or heard it on anything but the Thayer Birding Software and my ipod.
Either way - it's something I'm loving more and more... and I just can't seem to get away from it. I still love slowing down and watching one bird for a while ("birdwatching"). I love "getting to know" a particular bird. Simultaneously though, I am getting thrills out of seeing new things and lots of things like i never thought possible.