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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