During my first days and year as a birder, I commonly got lifers and those beginning days were very awesome. Birding was one of my many interests from 2001-2008 until it became my main and very favorite hobby in 2009. Ever since 2009, I've taken up birding and have given it a lot of my efforts and time. It is my favorite thing to do. I've come along way since 2000 and my first year of birding. I have learned an awful lot. Despite the fact I have learned a lot, I still have a lot more to learn yet. The fun thing about this hobby is that the potential is endless. And that includes learning more, seeing more, discovering new locations and records, and studying these awesome and variable creatures that God crafted. Today, my life list is 456 species after recording about 115 in my first year. I've become an addict in listing in my home county of Maricopa, and my list for Maricopa is 363. For Arizona to date, my list is at 422. I don't chase a whole lot outside of Maricopa unless there is something really rare to see. Arizona is a state I am blessed to live in and I love to explore different locations throughout the state. Although I have seen most of the regularly occurring birds in Arizona, there are still some that I have yet to see. I have traveled around to many locations in pursuit of Arizona's awesome birds. And here I am recently, last year actually. I'm not as geeky as I was when I started this whole thing, but some of it may still be there! And when I started, I didn't ever think I would be able to get in a picture with a Spotted Owl!
Or an Elegant Trogon!
After graduating as a First Guide "student" to birding, the giant Western Peterson showed me a whole new world of birds. And I quickly found a favorite bird from the start. The Northern Goshawk. And today, that bird is still my favorite. By far!
Since my early years and once moving into becoming a full time birder in 2009, I have seen a lot of cool things. I have also attempted two Maricopa County Big Years and have written an online guide on my website to Birding In Maricopa County. I've even found a few rarities of my own too for Arizona.
While most of the birds I have seen have been in Arizona (422 out of 456), I have taken a few trips elsewhere, which is very rarely. Me being outside of Arizona birding is equivalent to there being an ABA code 5 bird somewhere. In other words, I don't get out of the state often. A recent trip to California gave me 21 life birds to represent such outside of Arizona. Hanging out with Black Skimmers along the Coast was very fun!
And on another note, the Osprey may be the bird to thank for me getting into birding. We watched this bird continuously while on family vacations. Before I was a birder, I did watch the Osprey a lot. Because the Osprey was my first bird I ever watched with sheer interest, I think it may have been the reason for the Peterson. And the Peterson helped get my interest going. The big thanks goes out to the Osprey, one of North America's most skillful hunters. And a very cool bird at that!