After something like 45 years, I decided to give up mammal- and birdwatching in the traditional sense.
The main reason is that I have two children. Trying to combine family duties with chasing new species has been a massive failure, not to mention a constant source of frustration for everybody. In June I spent a week In Perth and couldn’t even make it to Dryandra in daytime to see numbats. Then I spent 10 days in Darwin/Kakadu area, looked for mammals every night after the kids went to sleep, and almost killed myself with sleep deprivation. It’s simply not working.
Another thing is that the community is increasingly moving towards competitive twitching, which is the opposite of what I am interested in. For me it’s always been about observing nature and learning. I will still travel at every opportunity but will prioritize seeing new ecosystems and ecosystem events over chasing particular species. I will be almost 70 by the time my kids grow up, so I have to make some hard choices. There comes a time in your life when you have to admit that all bentwings look nearly the same.
I will keep updating my life lists, but they will be strictly private, particularly all numbers. I will not report sight records anywhere anymore (except to researchers working with particular species in some cases), because it always feels like you have to prove something to somebody and I hate this. I might find time to upload particularly interesting photo records to iNaturalist, and if there’s something super interesting, I might publish it in a scientific journal, although this takes way too much time. I felt it was my duty to write trip reports here, because I’ve been using this website so much, but I think I’ve spent enough time writing them to freeload for the rest of my life.
I will still be happy to provide any information about sites and species upon request, and to help with IDs (although Venkat is now better at this I think). I might even be able to find time to guide tours – something I’ve always wanted to do, but almost never could. My email is dinets at gmail.
Thanks to everybody and particularly to Jon for creating this space, it’s been a lot of fun and I hope to still be around, just much less regularly.
On the photo: western chestnut mouse (Pseudomys nanus), Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory. This one definitely goes to iNaturalist 🙂