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2020: The year I reconnected with nature

Thirty years ago, my parents moved us from downtown Singapore up North – to live opposite a jungle. We would watch Monitor Lizards cross the road and stumble upon the Atlas Moth. We would document the transformation of pearlescent green caterpillars with our old Olympus film camera with the faintest idea of what they are. It would take us quite a while to learn that it is the largest moth in the world. 

Over time, I would forget about nature and her many wonders until stumbling upon the Grenada Tree Anole in December 2019. It was a life changing trip. The wildlife of Grenada got me interested in citizen science – a term that is all new to me. I started uploading my observations onto the iNaturalist app, and the whole process of getting a confirmation (of what I saw) brought back fond memories of my childhood.

Every year, I personalize a calendar to remind us of the year before.

2020 has been rough for everyone, but it is in this year that I reconnected with nature.

American Crow flying close to a Bald Eagle in our Inner Richmond neighborhood

I spotted my first bald eagle over our rooftop, simply because I have developed a habit of watching the American Crows around the neighborhood. I can recognize their call for defense when a threat is near. Many of my hawk sightings are results of following their caws.

Our resident Red-shouldered Hawk
Neighborhood crow alert

Looking back at my 2020 on iNaturalist, the absence between March to October marked our uncertainty during the pandemic – Jon and I got busy adjusting to “the new normal” which included the paranoia of human contact. All thanks to the Great Horned Owl, we ventured out into nature again.

The last few months have been pretty exciting, learning new things every day. We met the most amazing birders, online, who taught us how to differentiate a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, recognize a Glaucous Gull, and arrive at the deduction of a passing falcon in the sky.

It’s not easy getting trees ID-ed, but I’ll try anyway. I love trees.

I look forward to the many new things we would discover in 2021.

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