Friday, January 3, 2014

Year-end Update

It has been a busy 2013 for me, in some ways good and in some ways bad. Good things keeping me busy have been my continuing Birding on Broadmeade monthly group walk on Lake Creek Trail. This walk has continued to hold people's interest and now sometimes as many as 25 people show up! (If this becomes common, I'll have to start using some kind of registration system!) Also my other monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve seems to have established itself and often gets maximum registration. Both of these walks continue to be valuable opportunities for me to share and promote birding as a great way to enjoy nature and the outdoors in a time when interest in both is waning.

I'm about half way through an exciting wildlife tracking class that we are fortunate enough to have in Austin. I've been interested in tracking as long as I've been interested in birding, but I've never seriously pursued it until now. Our neighborhood has at least one great place to find tracks: under the Parmer Lane bridge just north of Anderson Mill Road. I've found some neat tracks there, including these nice ones made by a Virginia Opossum:

iNaturalist has been gaining momentum this year as an amazing new way to share nature observations of all kinds and contribute to our knowledge of species distributions all over the world. I've spent many fun hours contributing my own observations, helping identify others' observations, and exploring the possibilities this relatively new web site holds. I'm mikaelb on there.) Here's an iNaturalist Project for keeping nature observations made in our neighborhood: NASWC Wild

My job as a software engineer became increasingly difficult and stressful in 2013 until I finally voluntarily left it at the end of November. I've never done this kind of thing before, but it finally became apparent to me that I really need a break and a change. So I've been unemployed for about a month now, and boy does it feel strange! Before looking for a new opportunity I hope to rekindle some enthusiasm for computer programming (my other main interest since high school) and take some time to de-stress. I'll also think about possible changes in direction. It sure would be nice to find a career that uses computer programming related to nature somehow. If anyone knows of such an opportunity in Austin, please let me know!

And this is a shot in the dark, but if anyone is interested in hiring me to show you birds in the Austin area (or maybe elsewhere in Texas) let me know. It would be a fun way to pay a few bills!

Whatever 2014 brings, I hope I can find more time for birding and nature observation in our neighborhood. We have a great one!

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