Tuesday 15 September 2009

An Ambivalent Anniversary

It's that day of the year again.

Exactly, it is September the 15th, the day of days and date of dates.

Two years ago today, I moved from A to B.

Now, any anniversary is a good occasion to look back and see or evaluate how things worked out and if promises were kept. Therefore, let us look at the last few sentences of the fateful post of September 14th, 2007:

"But what about my blog? Well, darn, I am sorry to disappoint, but even back in Germany, I'll just keep on blogging!"

That was quite a promise to make, yet it is also one that can easily be verified - or not - by looking at my post stats:

Sure enough, although I maintain a monthly post frequency that is regularly achieved by other blogs on a daily basis, I'd say a small hiatus is acceptable and that's a promise kept.

"Things will very much remain the same here at Bell Tower Birding, it's just going to be another bell tower and different birds I'll be writing about."

This sentence contains three different declarations that need to be looked at separately, namely that a) things will remain the same b) it's just going to be another bell tower and c) and different birds I'll be blogging about.

"Things will remain the same"
As the opening sentences of this truly glorious post will attest, I seem to have built a certain reputation over the years that remains largely unaltered and intact, recent masterpieces by other blogs challenging my position on the blog market notwithstanding. Another frightening promise kept.

"It's just going to be another bell tower"
As you may remember (and this might assist your memory), my blog was named after the Burton Memorial (or Bell) Tower in central Ann Arbor, seen on this picture taken from my back-then-apartment.
I'd like to say that the reasons for choosing it as the name of my blog were manifold as it would sound so intelligent and as if I'd put a huge amount of thought into it, but basically the only reason was simply the pair of Peregrines that tried to breed there and were usually around.
As these were deemed the only birds I'd get to see regularly (what with living in a downtown hell of concrete and tar), I had predicted they'd be a regular and prominent feature of my blog, a prediction that never materialized safe for this one post (which coincidentally contains the same recycled picture of the tower - well, bummer).

However, was I being right and righteous in keeping the name after I moved back to Germany? Were there any bell towers and falcons in Stralsund as well?
As you can see from the pictures of this post, Stralsund actually has a number of excellent bell towers. However, there are no Peregrines nesting in Stralsund, so my blog integrity was challenged. To save the day and the blog, I decided that any falcon on a tower would be a good falcon and thus instrumentalize the numerous Common Kestrels breeding on said towers to save the day.
But of course, you may ask - after having carefully studied the stats graph above - how about the new domicile in or rather near Heidelberg.
Again, things needed to be stretched somehow to make fit what initially didn't quite fit: here in Leimen we have a pair of lovely and aristocratic Peregrines again that scare and hunt the heck out of our Common Kestrels, but the bell towers of Leimen are so ridiculous (as all of Leimen is) that the Peregrines settled for a tall and weather exposed chimney. So yet again, to save the day any tower was declared sufficient regardless of musical ornaments and here we are, on the Belltowerbirding blog and not the Factorychimney blog. A dignity stained is still a dignity saved, and the name remains.

"and different birds I'll be blogging about"
This is where the term slacking really hits the homes of Belltowerbirders: this is a promise not fully kept.
Surely I still managed to write a few post about the birds of the Baltic, but even then the majority of posts was related to North American birds and birding. With me being in Heidelberg now, this is even more of a broken promise as I don't get to go birding a lot and if I do, I need to either get back to the treadmill so quickly I forget to blog about it or I am technically not allowed to mention the outcome of my time outside on my blog as it is all job-related (but not really anything secret).
This is something I am still working on, and while I do I hope my slacker status regarding German birding posts will be viewed with mercy and understanding.

"And don't worry, as soon as I am back, I'll make my reappearance known to you by flooding your own blog with comments."
Oh geez, don't throw anything at your monitor, please!
As the following victims of comments abuse and online stalking by yours truly will attest, commenting on other blogs is something I excel at.
Look, I am sorry Patrick, Carrie, Nate, Clare, 10,000Birds-guys, Wren, Katie, Larry, Dale, Amila, Joan, Will, John, and all the other blogs I did not mention specifically but am known to regularly roam and haunt.

It's just that ... you know ... you're really good company - no matter where life takes me. And that's why blogging is such a special thing to do.


Patrick B. said...

I think I need a similar graph for my blog...

Jochen said...

You'll soon need it. Any day now, right?
All the very best to you and your wife for the journey ahead of you.

corey said...

If you didn't comment some of my posts would have no comments at all. So keep commenting!

And someone is going to have to do a full-fledged study on the effects of becoming a parent on bird blogging. Either that or set up a charity to provide child care for bird bloggers...hey, now that's an idea!

Nate said...

I'm in, where do I sign up?

John B. said...

Hey, I've been getting stalked, too.

Anonymous said...

The obvious solution is to move back to Ann Arbor, Jochen. The tower, the peregrines, and the Arb are all waiting for you.

Amila Salgado said...

Good luck in overcoming your slacker status regarding German birding posts. I'd like to do a similar graph on my bird and birding posts to see how it would look like.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

So in other words what you are saying is:

1. you are a slacker.
2. You dont like where you are living.
3. You will make any excuse for not going birding.

Shame on you!! LOL!!

Okay here is a solution: move back to Namibia or to SA. The cure is beer and braaivleis. It does wonders for the soul. :)Besides, your son will LOVE the animals. :)

Jochen said...

@Corey: Okay, I promise I will. The problem with the study is that it needs to be conducted by someone who does not have young children or a blog as this would take up too much time for the study to be conducted thoroughly. However, an "outsider" might not have the pre-qualifications to do a good job.

@Corey and Nate: The child care charity is a good idea. all we have to do is find someone who has crap loads of money and no plan what to spend it on. Which surely can't be too difficult, right?
Right, guys?

@John: dang! I knew if I started to mention people I'd forget someone. Geez. Will add you as soon as possible. I could now state that I had hoped my comments on your blog weren't quite as haunting as those on other blogs, but that would be lying... So, there's no excuse.
If there's anyone else who'd like to be linked to specifically and I haven't done so yet - look, I am a tired father, I forget. Just drop me a few lines!

@Wren: bouhouuuuuuuhouuuuuuuuu! I miss it so much. Actually, and I am serious, I can think of few places in North America that are as attractive as AA for a birder to live in: you're close to Pelee and Crane Creek/Magee Marsh, to LEMP, Point Moo, the boreal forest of the UP isn't far, there are fine grassland species around and the climate is okay, summers not too hot, winters not too cold.
So who knows, Wren, who knows...

@Amila. Thanks, I am going to need it. Well, now that you've taken over the ’surreal treatment of a birding subject in a blog’ theme, I'll have to find myself a new blogging niche, right? So German birding might be it - or do you have any plans of visiting Germany any time soon :-))

1. right
2. right
3. oh sigh, I wish I needed to make excuses for not being able to go to work as I'd be birding...

Moving to Namibia or SA?
I'd love to!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How about a nice house in Michigan from March to June and then a small game farm, you know, just a few hundred square kilometres somewhere in the SA bundu for the rest of the year? Sounds like a plan!

Cheers to you all!

Dale Forbes said...

well, you still post more than all other german and austrian bird bloggers put together!

when you coming to the alps?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sound like an excellent idea Jochen. Need someone to run it for you? :)

Will said...

I can attest that kids interfere with Birding in many ways. However I remember when my oldest daughter was about 4, and she was being a noisy 4 year old, I told her to lay down on the grass and be very still, because I wanted to get a better look at some vultures flying over...

Yeah.. The wife didn't find it funny.

Still looking fowards to seeing some nice posts about the awesome coloration of European Birds... Who knew there were that many shades of Gray and Brown?

Anonymous said...

Hey, we have a guest room if you want to come for visit.

Rurality said...


Jochen said...

@ Dale: right! And ain't that a sad thing?!

@ Joan. I'll definitely need someone to look after my private game reserve in SA while I am away. Are you looking for a job and do you have an idea how much the SA government might charge me if I asked them to sell Krueger NP to me?

@ Will, hey that's an idea. You realize raptor fall migration has been slower than slow this year here at Heidelberg? and yes, only Europeans can fully appreciate the appeal of brown on gray.

@ Wren: wow, that's a lovely comment to get. Thanks a million!!!!

@ Rurality: Aha, there you are!!

Larry said...

I like the graph you did.I was just looking at how I stated off at 200 posts a year and dwindled down to about 45 a year.-You sure now how to get the gab going but I love your subtle and sometimes not so subtle sense of humor.-Good luck and I'll be looking forward to the comments.