Wednesday 27 December 2017

Happy 60th Dad!

Today is my dad's sixtieth birthday... Happy birthday Dad!
A great photo of Dad, Justin, and I. Dad is the kid in the middle :P
Being one of the people who created me, and a big positive support, mentor, and hero of mine my whole life, I figure what better way to wish him a happy birthday than through my first blog post in a while? My blog is primarily for telling stories of my adventures with wildlife, and in the coming year I aim to focus on writing about my Big Year. Seeing as my closest family and friends have been super supportive particularly this year and have done so much to help me get to this point in my life, I might as well kick things off by write about them some too!
Dad and I at The Tip on my first visit to Point Pelee when I was less than one year old! It's old photos like these at relevant locations like Point Pelee - the 'hints' for the future - that are real treasures for naturalists like me.
My dad was one of the first people to introduce me to the outdoors! When I was just a toddler we had a whole scheme down for sharing our outdoor work. I had a mini lawn mower and a set of garden tools for a person my size and Dad had his own set, and we worked well together! Okay, so the motor was maximum quiet and the whole thing was made of bright red plastic, but you know... The lawn got cut!
Look at how hard Dad and I worked on the yard together, when I was only two years old!
When my brother, dad, and I would drive around the county when I was wee, we would constantly play that game that many of us play these days, trying to be the first one to spot hawks perched, or turkey, pheasants, and deer grazing in the fields. Who would have thought that would turn out to be one of my favourite activities, clocking thousands of hours of searching while driving in recent years??
A Red-tailed Hawk from 2015 that was visible from my dad's house. A bit closer view than we had years ago!
Fast forward a bit to September 2001... Dad took my brother and I to the Hawk Festival at Holiday Beach for our first time, where we were treated to birds of prey actively migrating overhead and banding demonstrations! This was pretty cool stuff, but for a ten-year-old into video games and friends it could only seem so cool at the time. I did not know it yet, but this was one of my first experiences in what would turn out to be a whole lifestyle and career of bird watching and wildlife!
My brother Justin and I with a Sharp-shinned Hawk that Dad adopted for us at the Holiday Beach Hawk Festival. It's amazing how things like this sometimes come full circle. I like to think I am better at identifying birds today than I was at that time haha.
My dad has since been back to Holiday Beach's Hawk Festival a few times, to see my presentations and the great work that my now friends at Holiday Beach do for fall migration! He may not consider himself a bird watcher (yet!) but I recently noticed the Audubon Field Guide I bought him a few years ago, now looking a bit worn and used, in a high traffic reading location in his house! Christmas just happened a couple of days ago, and I was very pleased to see that Dad was thrilled about a pair of binoculars left by Santa under his Christmas tree. 
Like I said, Dad's Audubon field guide is in a high traffic reading area!
Cheers to sixty great years in the making, Dad, and call me a bit of an optimist if you will, but here's to sixty more! Thanks for your contribution toward this amazing career I have started on. Happy birthday xoxo
Dad with his new binoculars. I can think of a local tour guide who just might be up for showing him around!
Thanks for reading, good birding, and have a great winter!