January saw us stalking rare geese on Long Island and making grand resolutions to bird more, write more, and generally make better use of this blog. But seven months have passed, with nary a peep.
Perhaps this was not surprising, but what happened? Well, instead of spending my spring brushing up on sparrows, memorizing songs and chip notes, and chasing warblers, I was instead consumed by planning our own migration from New York City to Western Massachusetts. It involved far more boxes than birds. (And I could have bought a very nice scope with what we ended up spending on the move.) New jobs are good things, but missing out on spring migration made it bittersweet.
Now that we are mostly settled in our new home in the Pioneer Valley, we are beginning to get a better sense of our natural surroundings. One definite benefit of living here—and, indeed, one of reasons we moved—is that it is so much easier to get out in nature. Not that the city didn’t have good birding or opportunities for urban naturalists, because they were actually plentiful; it just required a lot more effort and planning on our part to take advantage of it. Weekend birding trips no longer involve a 2-hour round-trip subway ride or just as long spent idling in traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway; instead, breeding cerulean and worm-eating warblers are just a 10-minute drive—and one mountain—away. (Not that I’ve seen a cerulean…yet.) We’ve exchanged skyscrapers, pocket parks, barrier islands, and salt marshes for undisturbed woodlands, rolling farmland, mountains and ridges with sweeping vistas, and peat bogs filled with wild orchids.
There so much to explore. Sometimes, I don’t even know where to start—but start we must.