I think getting out on a regular basis and just birding with the common species is probably a better foundation as opposed to seeing a lot of birds but not knowing much about any specific one.

I met John while looking for sparrows in the Florida panhandle. His white deck boots are awesome. They're the equivalent of Xtratufs in Alaska; all the fisherman have them because they're the best boot for the job. As a footwear connoisseur, I've done the majority of my birding in Crocs, Chacos, and now Xtratufs. I'll write a blog post about footwear sometime, there's some good stories.