And 15 years later, not much has changed..
Ok, I'll get to the point. The guy is me. I've reached 15 years of birding, and I love this hobby. I've reached 474 species for my life list. My Arizona list is 429. My Colorado list is 98. My California list is 217. My New Mexico list is 10. Basically, I haven't birded outside of Arizona much other than southern California lifer trips. I take more pride in my home county list, Maricopa County, than anything. 369 species is my total for Maricopa.
Arizona is a great state to be "stuck in" and spend most of my "birding career". In birding years, I turned 15 today. My most recent accomplishment was photographing this Flammulated Owl. I thought Flams were nearly impossible to photograph and see for the longest of time. Thankfully, this guy proved my doubting self wrong.
Sometimes certain experiences in this hobby are what really define this hobby. Seeing new birds is a cool thing, but there are some that knock others literally out of the water. How about seeing two Albatrosses in less than a minute apart from each other on my rookie pelagic out of San Diego?!
This hobby started for me because of the Osprey. It was my spark bird. After all, it caught more fish than anyone else combined at Greer's Tunnel Reservoir.
I then bought a cheap Peterson First Guide and started to ID common birds around my house and campspot, but my first birdwatch came from Prescott, Arizona's Goldwater Lake 15 years ago. From then on, it really took off pretty fast. I birded on every family vacation and at times during the year. In 2009, I got into birding much more seriously and I haven't looked back. I love this hobby! What's cool about it is you can discover something new or rare anytime. You can also learn something new every time in the field. Birding is diverse, and luckily, I still have a lot to learn and a long ways to go. After all, it is an epic hobby. I must thank my parents for taking me on camping trips and installing an outdoor passion in my brains to enjoy birding, camping, hiking, and other awesome outdoor related things! Here we are near the summit of Mount Baldy, in the Mount Baldy Wilderness area of northeastern Arizona. It's probably my favorite birding spot, as well as area to camp and hike. Three birds with one stone.