As I headed into 2021, I was intent on improving my ability to recognize birds by their calls and songs. I’m happy to report that I improved that skill considerably, and I’ll continue my education there. I also realize that I am woefully weak on spotting and identifying waterbirds. In the new year, my top priority will be, ahem, to shore up my knowledge.
For most of my life, “duck” has meant the ubiquitous mallard, a common site in most ponds and lakes I’ve visited. “Goose” has meant the Canada goose. Those fat honkers invade seemingly every golf course I play and occasionally wander into our yard, only to be chased away by my wife blaring into the bullhorn she keeps by the back door.
In December, I made a couple of trips to Abbott Marshlands in Hamilton, New Jersey, hard by the capital city of Trenton. The marshlands include Spring Lake at John A. Roebling Park, so there are plenty of places for ducks and geese and coots and what-have-you to land. I’ll be heading back there regularly and plan to do a feature on the area at some point soon.
My second-priority resolution for the new year is to get better at catching birds in motion. My best photos so far have generally captured birds perching on branches and grasses. I’m proud of those shots, but I also admire the work of fellow birders who capture birds — especially large raptors — winging their way through the air.
Finally, I’ll look to expand my range outside Mercer County and even outside the state.
Thanks for reading my posts, and have a wonderful new year!