It's been about six months since I started this blog -- it seems so much longer. Spring (which never really got on its feet this year) was just "heating up" back then. There were Flickers and Starlings on my suet feeder, the hummingbirds had braved the snows in my yard, and the rats were foraging under the fence. Six months later the rats are still there, the Starlings are re-forming their winter flocks after the breeding season (there were two in my backyard this morning making such an incredible variety of sounds it seemed like a huge mixed flock), and the hummingbirds are coming back. Most people have hummingbirds in the summer who leave in the fall. Around here, it's been different. The hummingbirds left for the summer (because there were so many other food sources, I guess) and now that the weather has begun to cool a little and most of the flowers are gone, they're coming back. This past week I've seen almost constant hummingbird activity. They're so vocal (a lot of hummingbird sounds are not actually vocal, they're made by wings and tail) I can hear them from inside the house. There have been at least two here regularly, a young female and an older female. I'm on the lookout for more.
|Zeke's first day home.|
When I started the blog I did it for a number of reasons -- the most important of which are spelled out on my "About" page. It was pretty dark time in my life, I had gone through the deaths of my mother and my canine companion Roscoe, and through it all it was bird watching and observing wildlife that really got me through. Since I started, some things have changed-- for instance, my "puppy" Zeke now weighs close to 120 pounds -- and some things haven't. Bird watching is still very important to me.
It's been a pretty good year for my writing in general. Both this blog and its companion, Books and Beasts, have been pretty well received. I had an article about Roscoe published by Whole Life Times. I've done a couple of guest posts for 10000 Birds. (Consider the Chickadee and Crazy Flickers). I may soon be doing a regular post for SodoMojo, a blog which covers the Seattle Mariners. And my Klout Score (if anyone can explain to me how that thing really works, I'd love to hear it) is hovering somewhere around 47, give or take. Not bad, all things considered. It's a far cry from making a living as a writer, but I'm having fun.
Meanwhile, I keep thinking about what I want to do with these blogs. Between them, they take up a fair amount of my time now, and I want to keep them as fresh an interesting to the readers as I can. Without losing what's good about them so far -- I have some ideas that I am hoping to try out in the months to come.
The first of these involves my puppy Zeke. I will soon be doing a review for Books and Beasts of Mary R. Burch's book Citizen Canine, about training for the Canine Good Citizen test. Following that review, Zeke and I are going to undertake a regular training regimen with the goal of his passing the test at next year's Paws Walk. And my intention is to document that training here -- with regular updates, and even videos of his progress. I'll tell you a lot more about it in the near future, but if you think this would be an interesting addition to this blog, I'd love to hear from you. (And if you don't, I'll still be glad for the feedback.)
The second thing is fiction. I've written a little here, and a lot more at Books and Beasts, about point of view in fiction, and how incorporating the consciousness of other species might effect that. I've also been working on that problem more practically in my own fiction, and what I hope to do is share some of that work with my readers from time to time. I'm thinking of having a semi-regular short fiction post in addition to the regular contents of the blog. Again, I'd appreciate any thoughts readers have on this idea.
Meanwhile, I'll keep doing what I'm doing, keeping you informed on what's going on with the birds and wildlife in this tiny corner of the world. I hope it makes interesting reading.
If you like Birdland West, you might also want to check out our sister blog Books and Beasts, which focuses on reviews of books about animals and related topics.
Many of the original photographs featured on Birdland West are available for sale as art quality prints. You can check out all of our offerings at http://AlexWashoe.imagekind.com. If you see an image here that does not show up on our Imagekind site please contact me directly and I'll let you know about availability.)