I posted last week with regards to just how fabulous 2016 has been for me, both as a keen naturalist and aspiring nature writer. It has proven educational, at times challenging and altogether exciting. With that in mind, and in keeping with tradition on this blog, I thought I would set myself a few “wild resolutions” to keep me on the right track during 2017: scrapping the urge to be overly ambitious like I did last year. These are things I hope to adhere to, or achieve, during the coming twelve months and I am writing them here, in public, so I cannot back out of them at a later date.
- Diversify! As a lifelong birder and butterfly enthusiast, my knowledge and identification skills associated with those groups are quite sound. While I am also quite at home with mammals, dragonflies, reptiles and amphibians, through both academic and professional work. A good naturalist, however, boasts a broad knowledge of the natural world and thus, in 2017 I intent to diversify my interests to include groups I am shaky with at present. While I have dabbled in the realms of botany, moths and fish before, these are perhaps the groups I am least familiar with, and as such, where I will focus an increased amount of attention during the coming year.
- Citizen Science! I have always contributed to citizen science schemes: most notably the BTO’s Birdtrack recording system – on which I have now logged some 60,000 records. I have not, however, given such things the attention they rightfully deserve – stupid really, given how much time I spend in the great outdoors. In 2017 I hope to up the anti, so to speak, on my Birdtrack recording, but also to venture further into the recording of additional taxa. Having set myself a easily-achievable target of contributing, also, to the Mammal Societies ‘Mammal Track’ scheme and targeting Lepidoptera through IRecord. May as well use my time in nature for something productive, right?
- Write this bloody book! Under the “you don’t know until you try” pretense, I have been toying with the idea of a book for sometime now. And, at present, have drafted my first two chapters and an introduction I feel sounds half decent. My efforts have, however, waned somewhat of late – due in no small part my Masters degree and no end of personal projects. In 2017 I hope to change this, and give said book the time and effort it deserves – it may be in vain, in the long run, if no Publisher will touch me with a barge pole, but who knows. I am enjoying writing nonetheless.
- Return to “proper” nature writing! When I started this blog, quite a few years ago now, the majority of my posts consisted of sightings, site-visits and creative descriptions of the creatures with which I spend my time. This seems to have changed during the course of 2016: giving way to opinion pieces, informative posts and frustrated outpourings. While I will undoubtedly continue with the latter during 2017, I feel it is necessary to go back to my roots and work to develop my skills as a true nature writer. Hopefully, next year will see this blog teeming with more lyrical descriptions of wildlife and wild-places. I also intent to proposition a lot more media outlets this year and, ultimately, work further towards my goal of becoming a published writer.
- Give birding a boost! Now, this one is just for fun. And, partially, to keep me from going insane as I try to complete the other, more serious resolutions above. In 2017 I intent to bolster my birding efforts: to see more species, build my stagnating list and, when all is said and done, visit more fantastic places. I hope to catch up with the British species I have not let laid eyes upon – *cough* Hawfinch, Nightingale and Woodlark, foremost – and make a concerted effort to Twitch a little more. Spurred on by fabulous encounters with rarities during 2016. What is life without a little fun, eh?