It's been a great experience being part of the committee so far and I hope I can continue for a long time to come, despite my work taking me further and further from the committees base in Sydney. Through ABSA I have discovered bird study projects that I never knew existed, met amazing people that I would never normally have come across and renewed my passion for bird study and the Australian bush.
This year, as I'm not away in the field for the first time in almost 10 years, I'm trying to get involved more in some of the long-term banding projects around NSW. So I've been spending many weekends in the bush with people who I didn't know until very recently, sometimes catching birds and sometimes just sitting around waiting, drinking tea and getting to know my fellow banders. It has been amazing! I have learned so much about Australian birds and I am grateful to everyone on these trips. On a trip recently I was amazed and excited to meet three 17 year old boys with a real passion for birds - they absolutely put me to shame with their bird knowledge! This banding site is at least three hours drive from where any of us live so they had to convince a parent to drive down with them for the weekend too. It works both ways, sometimes kids drag their parents and some parents drag their kids! But everyone seems to enjoy the weekends. Don’t get me wrong these trips are not necessarily organised by ABSA but are run by people with a passion for Australian birds (often ABSA members), it is this passion that keeps me going back.
I'm looking forward to Birdfair 2016 and to the ABSA scientific day and AGM next year. I'm hoping to spread some enthusiasm for bird study through Twitter and get on as many bird banding trips as my schedule will allow (if you live in Sydney and want to join a trip click here). I might even confront my seasickness and go on a pelagic trip later this year! If you haven't already please visit the ABSA website, send us an email/facebook message/tweet or start up a conversation on our forum. We would love to hear from you!