Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon, Episode 8, Contest Winner

As I sit at my open kitchen window this morning listening to urban bird calls and waiting for YouTube to upload the final episode, I have a mixture of relief and sadness. This series has been so much a part of my life the last six months, that I'm partially grateful to have some freedom in my schedule, but sad to not work on it anymore because it worked all the creative resources of my brain. As much as it was a puzzle for viewers to figure out the series clues and theme, it was a puzzle for me some days to figure out how to organize footage, edit something to make sense when a memory card decided a key scene I filmed was corrupt and choosing which bird footage to use. As my blog is turning 10 years old this year, it's very different than when I started in 2004. I don't just have a Minnesota audience anymore and how many times can I post "Hey, orioles are back" with genuine enthusiasm? Not that I'm not excited when I see the orioles are back, but writing about in the blog is not the same. It's more fun to post the first oriole's picture to Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, there are so many new ways and platforms to share information--sharing and discussing news is better suited to Facebook and Twitter than it is in the blog.

When I have a time consuming project like this series or writing a book, my brain will try to distract me by percolating 100s of great ideas. Ideas that require time, other people and organizations and money--but are still great ideas. One of the hardest things I've learned for me is that ideas are easy, followthrough is hard. I can have the greatest idea in the world (or hear someone else's idea and want to work on it) but if I don't have the time or resources, I have to let it go. Working on this series not only gave me the break of working on "the same old" blog posts I really needed, but has taken enough of my working brain, that new ideas for the blog have been percolating in the back of my head.

I'll be spending the next month implementing them and also I am excited to write again.

Will we do more videos? Yes!

Will we do another series...I hope so, but I'm not sure.

This was an experiment. I was in a reality tv show pilot last year (that has mercifully aired unnoticed) and though creatively it wasn't what I needed, I realized, "Is this all it takes to make a show?" And I used what I learned watching the crew as they filmed us to make Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon with mostly a couple of iPhones. I'd love for it to be a regular show--whether on YouTube or Netflix, or even Nat Geo, but that takes money, planning, writing (yes, reality shows have scripts), a better sound system, a crew and holy cow I could really use a continuity editor (I'm surprised no one ever emailed about my shirt changing colors in Episode 2).

If you enjoyed this series a big way to help is to let the sponsors know. For example, if you ever stay at the Alamo Inn, tell Keith that Birdchick sent you or that you enjoyed his cameo in the series. Tweet to Princeton University Press or Swarovski Optik Nature that you liked it (and especially let them know if you bought something). Check out the apps BirdsEye NA or BirdLog from BirdsEyeBirding. Go birding in South Texas either the Rio Grande Valley or Corpus Christi, you won't regret it. I'm half-tempted to run a digiscoping tour there (another great idea percolating in the back of the brain).

Thank you sponsors and friends for making this show possible. And now for the video, there are three winners. The first person our rabbit picked got the Swarovski Spotting Scope, the second person gets their choice of bird book worth up to $40 list price from Princeton University Press and the third person chosen gets a copy of my book 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know.