While visiting Virginia this week we did a day trip to the Botanic Garden Conservatory in Washington, D.C. (Eric Moore/Courtesy)

Last week, as 2021 drew to a close, Gayla and I flew to Virginia to visit our son Jeremy and his family. Fortunately, in spite of all of the COVID-related-flight cancellations, we were able to travel to see our newest grandchild, Jethro.

And, as you might imagine, being in a ‘new’ place afforded me the opportunity to do some birding! Within walking distance of where we are staying is the entrance to Claude Moore Park, in Sterling, and I’ve gone there several times! One of our day trips this past week was to visit the United States National Botanic Garden Conservatory, adjacent to the Capitol in Washington D.C.

While I haven’t seen anything new for my life list, I did add one additional species to my year-list — fish crow — bringing me to 814 species for 2021. We arrived on the 29th of January, and our visit straddles both 2021 and 2022 so I now that we are in the new year I have started a new species count for 2022.

My birding has been hampered somewhat by weather (it is snowing as I write) but I do hope to get out and find whatever species I can see while here. Already, for the new year, I’ve seen golden-crowned kinglets and winter wren, so I’m definitely adding some of the more difficult-to-find bird species to my 2022 year-list.

When we leave Virginia, we are going to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the annual America’s Mart trade show to shop for our business. As you might imagine, I’m hoping to squeeze in a little birding time there as well, time permitting.

Ringing in a new year raises so many questions, and unknown opportunities. What lies ahead in the new year? While it is hard to know what the new year will bring, I am hopeful it will be a year filled with new adventures, happy experiences and many opportunities to go bird watching.

I am slated to attend one international birding trip this year. In March I’ll be going to Oaxaca, Mexico. I booked this trip back in 2020 for 2021, but the trip was canceled last year due to COVID, and was pushed back to this year. With the emergence of the Omicron variant it will be interesting to see if this trip happens, or if it will get canceled again.

Other than this one international birding trip I don’t have any other plans to travel outside of the United States this year, and I really haven’t made any specific birding plans or goals for the new year. My main focus this year will be my service on the Prescott City Council, and moving our store sometime later this year to our new location at the intersection of Willow Creek Road and Black Drive.

I am hopeful we can get back to normal this year in regard to attending birding and nature festivals. Next week is the Wings over Willcox birding festival in southeastern Arizona — we are planning on attending as a vendor. The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is scheduled to take place in April, and registration is already open for the Southwest Wings birding festival in Sierra Vista, in May.

Some years I make birding goals regarding either a yard, county, state or year list. For example, in 2020, I decided to try and see 300 bird species in the state of Arizona, and ultimately accomplished this goal, ending the year with 303 species.

May the new year bring you joy, fulfillment and many goals related to spending time in nature, and hopefully incorporating an element of bird watching into your activities.

Until next week, Happy Birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn in Prescott. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.