It's time to reflect on the goals I articulated a year ago and touch on some of the highlights of 2014:
...bird a few coastal spots with regularity to improve my shorebird identification skills.
I met Baird's Sandpiper and Hudsonian Godwit for the first time this year, searched for but did not find Western Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and American Golden-Plover (there's always next year), and spent hours glassing over mudflats and beaches to get a better handle on the more common species. My shorebird finding skills improved, but I have plenty of growth yet to do.
...get to know any unfamiliar wildflowers, shrubs, and trees growing near my new home.
I met many new plants in the course of my travels, and I intend to profile several of them in 2015.
...seek out spring and early summer butterflies and expand my general knowledge of insects.
I photographed my first Eastern Pine Elfin, profiled several dragonflies (Dot-tailed Whiteface, Four-spotted and Spangled Skimmer, and Autumn Meadowhawk), and identified several other new-to-me insects (Luna Moth, White-spotted Sawyer, and Rosy Maple Moth). That said, I know I've only scratched the surface when it comes to the lives of insects. There are so many more creatures to get to know.
Check, check, and check! I have permission to gather from several new places, and have shared some of my edible findings from the past year on this blog, including Purple Chokeberry, Hairy-stemmed Gooseberry, and Feathery False Solomon's-seal. I picked gallons of acorns, and even processed some into flour, which I then baked into a delicious fruit-topped acorn cracker crust. Most of the acorns I gathered were dried in the shell and await future processing.
...go on my first pelagic outing in search of birds, whales, and more.
I didn't get out on a pelagic trip, though I did get a chance to visit Stratton Island (~3 miles east of Old Orchard Beach) where Common, Roseate, Arctic and Least Terns nest, along with various wading birds, ducks, and songbirds. I may go on a pelagic voyage at some point in the future, but for now I'm content exploring the main(e)land.
...and lastly, remain open to whatever life lessons arrive while continuing to share my journey on this blog.
Life tossed some unexpected challenges my way this year, especially during the summer months. Sharing my adventures with you and receiving your feedback motivated me to get outdoors and uncover more wild edible treats and natural treasures, and helped to pick me up when I was feeling low. So, thank you for your continued support and readership. And, thank you to Jenny, for editing my writing and improving the quality of this blog.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year,