Friday, December 21, 2007

My Year in Bird Photos

Northern harrier, near Pingree, North Dakota, June.

I've got a love/hate relationship with those year-in-review, best-of lists. Normally I LOVE them because I miss a lot of good stuff in the course of the year (new music, movies, books, etc) and it's nice to see what other people pick as their favorites or what is chosen as the year's best whatever.

I tried to make my own 'best of' list this weekend: My Best Birds of 2007. That crazy train quickly ran off the rails. What, after all, constitutes "best"? Life birds? I got two in 2007: Florida scrub-jay in January in The Sunshine State, and American three-toed woodpecker in November in New Mexico. Those two birds pushed me into the mid-to-high 600s on the old life list (I really need to update that). But I also got loads of lifers in my three trips outside the U.S. this year. How do you fairly compare the relative merits of an Andean cock-of-the-rock with a LeConte's sparrow? I decided to limit this initial list to the continental U.S.

Were the best birds the rarest ones I saw? Or the most challenging to find? Or the most cooperative? Most beautiful?

Because I was blogging about this list, it would be useful to include on the list birds I had photographed. That's IT! My Best Bird Photos of 2007!

Still, the hair pulling was not over. I have images stored in several places on at least two different computers. I lost a lot of good images from North Dakota in an iPhoto crash. And how do I choose the bird photos? Sharpest? Largest in the frame? Rarest? Most cooperative? Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

I woke up at 4:45 this morning determined to get this post finished. It's now 10 am and I'm still looking through images. STOP THE MADNESS!

Folks, I done did my best. I'm leaving a lot out, but I'm also saving you from seeing every single shot I took (somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 images).

I hope you like the images I chose. Please feel free to send along your comments.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Female anhinga landing in a snag. January, near Titusville, Florida.

Limpkin, Viera Wetlands, near Titusville, FL., January,

Florida scrub-jay. Merritt Island NWR, Florida, January.

Digiscoped. Hybrid drake blue-winged x cinnamon teal. Viera Wetlands, near Titusville,FL. January.

Willet, Merritt Island, NWR, FL. January.

Turkey vulture, Merritt Island, NWR, FL. January.

Eastern bluebird male, Whipple, OH, February.

Ringed kingfisher, Anzualduas County Park, near McAllen, TX. March.

Tern comparison: Forster's tern (left) and common tern (right) Muskingum River, Marietta, OH, May.

White-eyed vireo, Whipple, OH. May.

Prairie warbler, singing male, Whipple, OH. May.

Blue-winged warbler, singing male, Whipple, OH. May.

Wood duck pair, Mohican State Park, OH. May.

Alder flycatcher, Allegany State Park, Salamanca, NY. June

Chestnut-sided warbler, male. Allegany State Park, Salamanca, NY. June

Displaying upland sandpiper, near Pingree, ND. June

Wilson's snipe, near Carrington, ND. June

Sora, near Pingree, ND. June

Black tern in flight, near Carrington, ND. June

LeConte's sparrow, Arrowwood NWR, ND. June

Barn swallow on antler. Carrington, ND. June

Chestnut-collared longspur, singing male, near Lake Juanita, ND. June

Eastern kingbird, near Carrington, ND. June

Wilson's storm-petrel, near Eastern Egg Rock, MA. June

Northern parula, male, Hog Island, ME. June

Atlantic puffin, Eastern Egg Rock, ME. June

Common eider, male, Hog Island, ME. June.

Yellow-throated warbler, male, Whipple, OH. July

Sedge wren, Whipple, OH. June.

Orchard oriole, male, Whipple, OH. July.

Ruby-throated hummingbird, male, Whipple, OH. August.

Ruby-throated hummingbird, female, Whipple, OH. August.

Cape May warbler, fall plumage, Whipple, OH. September.

American dipper, Taos Ski Valley, NM. November.

Black-billed magpie, Arroyo Seco, NM. November.

Snow geese at Fly-out, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. November.

"Blue" Ross' goose, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. November.

Ross' goose (left) and snow goose, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. November.

Greater roadrunner, north of Socorro, NM. November.

Lewis' woodpecker, Arroyo Seco, NM. November.

Sharp-shinned hawk, Whipple, OH. December.

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At 2:29 PM, Anonymous [email protected] said...

these are all beautiful photos and I can see why you had such a hard time picking! I just know you could do your best part two and have just as beautiful pictures! Keep up the amazing work and I always love hearing about your new adventures in other parts of this world and here! Happy Holidays and can't wait for next year!

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Tom said...

This is an incredible post. What a year!


At 10:41 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I am feeling agog because most of these birds would be lifers for me. Which are my favorites? The female hummer? The Roadrunner? The Puffin? All of them? Oh, my goodness. I think your birds in flight are remarkable and the best I've seen, hands down.


Thank you for pulling your hair out to produce this beautiful post.

Merry Christmas!

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Great photos and a great blog, Bill.

Even though we don't comment regularly, you know there are so many of us out here who read daily and appreciate your photos and thoughts throughout the year.

Happiest wishes for 2008 to you, Julie, Phoebe, Liam, and the rest.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Jayne said...

And the calendar will be available when??????? But seriously. Create one on Cafepress and I'd purchase several!

These are all just so spectacular Bill. Thanks for sharing your picks of the year with us. All of them together like this certainly make picking a favorite most difficult. Ya done good!

Let us know when the calendar is ready for purchase! ;c)

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Julie Zickefoose said...

Jayne prods me, too, honey. She's always there, nudgin'. Gotta love it.
I agree. These are something special. Thanik you for this beautiful post. I found myself thinking, "We saw all that in a year??" It's a wonderful review of our peregrinations. Maybe it should be an Apple book! Nudge nudge.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger ncmountainwoman said...

Oh! Wow! What a wonderful gift for the New Year. You have given and given to us all year long and this is an absolutely treat! Thank you.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Shelly said...

Great job with the recap! Happy Holidays! :)

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing them with us.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger KatDoc said...

Terrific photos, Bill! Thanks for all you do with this blog. (Except: I still don't get the haiku. [big grin])

I have found that the only rule to follow when picking "The Best of ..." is - What speaks to you? Those are your best. All of these photos speak to me, so I think you did a great job.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,


At 8:39 AM, Blogger dguzman said...

Wow wow wow wow, BOTB. That was one hell of a year.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger BT3 said...

Thanks for the kind words, all. If I get a spare minute or two I'll try to pick out my favorite 'foreign' bird pix from 2007.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger possumlady said...

Ahh, I remember the common eider from your Hog Island photos. I've said it before, but that photo looks like a beautiful painting--perhaps for a Duck Stamp??

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Willy said...

All the above, BOTB! Enjoyed the stroll through these wonderful pics....and to think..... I got to stand on stage with you and demonstrate bird reproductive organs......What an honor!

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Rondeau Ric said...

DON'T pul your hair out!!
All are great photos but I really like the sora.
Happy New year to the family.


At 7:55 PM, Blogger KatDoc said...

Forgot to say that the male Eastern Bluebird photo was my personal fave. It loks good enough to be published. Too bad you don't know anybody who edits a bird magazine.

Speaking of, I recognize that greenhouse in the latest issue of BWD!


At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the common eider is a painting, not a photograph, correct? I mean, come ON...

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Wow, fantastic photos! Looks like you had a great year!


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