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On January 2nd of this year I decided if I found both Crossbill species in
Essex I would attempt to find 150 for the calendar year. This has never been
done before and my eBird list for Essex showed about 153 (for 13 years work)
so it meant finding every bird I'd seen in Essex County in one year. It also
meant that I'd have to find 95% of the birds seen by everyone in Essex this
year to make it to 150. I knew there would be a cost in doing this but my
estimates were way off. A month into it I realized that this was going to be
a selfish and destructive ( to the planet) campaign. A better person would
have quit then.but not me. Yes, I know many of you are thinking, "But what
about all the eBird reports added to the database?" And true, I'm sure some
of what I entered will be helpful but it was expensive!! Keeping a written
log of every mile, trip number, and hour spent in Essex county I now can
confirm who is responsible for some of this "Global Warming" . On the 88th
trip this year I found a Willow Flycatcher & Field Sparrow bringing my
yearly total to 150 (Plus Night Hawk & possible Gray cheeked Thrush I have
not counted) I spent 398.5 hours birding in Essex and.here's the killer,
drove 7,367 miles! Yes, Essex is huge to cover but I put (by internet
calculation) , 6,400 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

 

Where there should be some joy in this kind of "accomplishment" there is
only relief.that I am done with this kind of birding (except for CBC's and
Birdaton/Quest one day fund raisers) This was never my kind of
birding..driving from one pond to another, from one field to another, one
feeder to another for that one bird just passing through. Could I have done
it in less trips and less miles, maybe but which of the 88 trips to cut and
miss that trip which produced those species that were only recorded once? I
don't think of this as birding...this is more about the self and about how
many (at least speaking for myself).

This kind of birding made me feel disconnected from nature & the birds & the
habitat I love. I don't enjoy it and even when one finds a new species
towards the goal the joy is so short lived as you seek & search out another
one to add. Birding is many things to different people, I understand that.
But I will be happy to get back to just driving the 13 miles one way to
Victory and walking once I am there. I hope I am not offending anyone by my
own personal perspective & experience with this effort. I do have to pay
some penance for this.I will spend a few weeks thinking about how to
accomplish that and even that is an easy thing to say now after the damage
has been done.

 

I know the 150 number will grow some, it is only May 21st and the potential
list of birds I made still has 14 possibilities but it will grow when I find
birds during my "normal" birding habits.

 

Tom Berriman