Wild Resolutions for 2017

I posted last week with regards to just how fabulous 2016 has been for me, both as a keen naturalist and aspiring nature writer. It has proven educational, at times challenging and altogether exciting. With that in mind, and in keeping with tradition on this blog, I thought I would set myself a few “wild resolutions” to keep me on the right track during 2017: scrapping the urge to be overly ambitious like I did last year. These are things I hope to adhere to, or achieve, during the coming twelve months and I am writing them here, in public, so I cannot back out of them at a later date.

  1. Diversify!  As a lifelong birder and butterfly enthusiast, my knowledge and identification skills associated with those groups are quite sound. While I am also quite at home with mammals, dragonflies, reptiles and amphibians, through both academic and professional work. A good naturalist, however, boasts a broad knowledge of the natural world and thus, in 2017 I intent to diversify my interests to include groups I am shaky with at present. While I have dabbled in the realms of botany, moths and fish before, these are perhaps the groups I am least familiar with, and as such, where I will focus an increased amount of attention during the coming year.
  2. Citizen Science! I have always contributed to citizen science schemes: most notably the BTO’s Birdtrack recording system – on which I have now logged some 60,000 records. I have not, however, given such things the attention they rightfully deserve – stupid really, given how much time I spend in the great outdoors. In 2017 I hope to up the anti, so to speak, on my Birdtrack recording, but also to venture further into the recording of additional taxa. Having set myself a easily-achievable target of contributing, also, to the Mammal Societies ‘Mammal Track’ scheme and targeting Lepidoptera through IRecord.  May as well use my time in nature for something productive, right?
  3. Write this bloody book! Under the “you don’t know until you try” pretense, I have been toying with the idea of a book for sometime now. And, at present, have drafted my first two chapters and an introduction I feel sounds half decent. My efforts have, however, waned somewhat of late – due in no small part my Masters degree and no end of personal projects. In 2017 I hope to change this, and give said book the time and effort it deserves – it may be in vain, in the long run, if no Publisher will touch me with a barge pole, but who knows. I am enjoying writing nonetheless.
  4. Return to “proper” nature writing! When I started this blog, quite a few years ago now, the majority of my posts consisted of sightings, site-visits and creative descriptions of the creatures with which I spend my time. This seems to have changed during the course of 2016: giving way to opinion pieces, informative posts and frustrated outpourings. While I will undoubtedly continue with the latter during 2017, I feel it is necessary to go back to my roots and work to develop my skills as a true nature writer. Hopefully, next year will see this blog teeming with more lyrical descriptions of wildlife and wild-places. I also intent to proposition a lot more media outlets this year and, ultimately, work further towards my goal of becoming a published writer.
  5. Give birding a boost! Now, this one is just for fun. And, partially, to keep me from going insane as I try to complete the other, more serious resolutions above. In 2017 I intent to bolster my birding efforts: to see more species, build my stagnating list and, when all is said and done, visit more fantastic places. I hope to catch up with the British species I have not let laid eyes upon – *cough* Hawfinch, Nightingale and Woodlark, foremost – and make a concerted effort to Twitch a little more. Spurred on by fabulous encounters with rarities during 2016. What is life without a little fun, eh?



  1. Tony says:

    Easy tiger, slowly does it. Don’t go burning yourself out in the name of personal endeavour, if that makes sense, you’re doing just fine. What a rollercoaster year you’ve had. Regarding your resolutions, I’d leave the book, but that’s just me, enjoy your life, you’ll be writing a-plenty both academically and through your usual activities. I, myself at naturestimeline will be attempting points 2, 4 (requires a boost for sure) and 5; I will crawl along with point 1 and likely go nowhere near point 3, lol.

    All the best and may 2017 bring us both what we richly deserve, that being plenty of time spent in nature and learning from it as we go along.

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

    1. James Common says:

      Thanks for commenting Tony! and agreed, no point overloading myself! As for the book, I’m enjoying writing it and it fits well with my aspirations for later life so I’ll persevere there. Genuinely excited to see what 2017 brings! All the best for it when it finally dawns! 😀

  2. Tony says:

    Concerning my book comment, oh absolutely James, I didn’t mean for you to ditch your aspirations just everything one step at a time. Take care now, and keep up the good work!


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