The time-line of my birding life is rather interesting (well it is to me, anyhow). It goes like this:
Local park - local sewage farm - day trips to the coast - observatory regular - twitcher - observatory regular - day trips to the coast - local sewage farm - local farm.
What seems to have happened is that my progression from novice to the heady heights of fairly knowledgable twitcher has regressed back down the ladder to where I started. I might not have reverted to novice, but I'm the first to admit that I'm not as good a birder as I was 'back in the day'. And do you know what? It doesn't bother me too much. That former birding prowess has been watered down by my other natural history interests taking up my time and space in my ever shrinking brain. What now appeals to me is very simple - it's almost like going back to the start, when an illustration of a Green Woodpecker or a Jay in a fieldguide would get my ornithological juices flowing. I'm quite grateful that this has happened. I am appreciating birds for being birds rather than for their perceived status. To wander around in blissful indifference to what someone might be watching down the road is liberating. It's not doing my blood pressure any harm either.
I might start to write 'Zen and the art of ornithological maintenance'...