Yesterday morning I hit Pine Creek for my first visit of this fall migration season. Despite solid conditions the night before, and large numbers of birds moving on radar, the place was mostly devoid of the desired passerine migrants (warblers). As happens often at the beginning of a season, the pace of migration gets off to a stuttering start, with cold fronts failing to pass against the wretched soup that currently pervades the region.
Such an event is normal, even expected. But what isn’t normal is my schedule for the fall, at least in comparison to the last decade of birding Pine Creek: I’m going off to college. After a long and protracted college application process, I am excited to be heading off to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in order to start the next phase of my education.
Overall, though, my feelings about leaving are melancholy. On one hand, I’m excited to begin a new phase of my life (and explore the birding opportunities Rhode Island has to offer), while on the other, I am still grappling with the end of an old one. Fall is a uniquely nostalgic time for me, when the excitement of being back on [the high school] campus was mixed with the wonderment toward the passing migrants experienced by birding my local patches on the weekends. Despite taking a gap year this past year, I was able to maintain the latter, but this year am letting both go.
Looking back, my summer has been pretty low-key. I broke my arm at the end of May and that and its associated surgery in mid July have kept me pretty sedentary. Because of that, I still have some financial wiggle room to go on trips when my school schedule allows.
I am also still working through photos from trips earlier this year. I came back from Australia with 11,000 photos, and have slowly worked to decrease that number. Here’s hoping I can get some of those photos on here soon.
It was impossible for thoughts of the myriad number of epic fall days I experienced at Pine Creek (and the associated positive times in my life) not to enter my mind this morning. They remind me of, despite all I’ve faced, how lucky I am to be alive and to be connected to birds.