Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Moments of 2012 - 31 Dec 2012

2012 was quite the rollercoaster ride for this birder and digiscoper.  There were many highs and lows during the year, but fortunately, many more 'highs'. The list of favorite moments of birding in 2012 were surprisingly numerous, so I trimmed them back to a Top 10 in chronologic order:

1. Great Gray Owl.  Arguably the best bird of the year, this beauty showed its stuff to hundreds of drooling birders / photographers in Dec 2011 and Jan 2012 in Kingsville, ON.

2. Sora.  A trip to Florida in the spring brought an opportunity to digiscope this tiny rail from just a few feet away at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland.

3. Nikon V1 does Sedona, AZ.  Nikon released its first 'mirrorless' camera, which has quickly become a top digiscoping camera for a number of digiscopers across the country.  I got my hands on one, and quickly fell in love.

4. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  This western vagrant made an appearance at Lower Huron Metropark in May, and provided a 'Lifer' for a great many Michigan birders.  I managed to refind the bird after it had disappeared, and even got some digiscoped images.  This one ended up on the cover of the latest issue of Michigan Birds and Natural History (Vol 19, No. 4, Oct - Dec 2012).

5. Red-necked Phalarope.  Seen in only a few locations in Michigan each year, this stunning female provided wonderful views from just a few feet away at Pt. Mouillee in early June.

6. Black Terns.  A trip to Pt. Pelee, ON in early June allowed me to photograph a nemesis bird on the nest and in the air from the Marsh Boardwalk.  Easily my favorite tern.

7. Peregrine Falcon.  An ordinary outing to Pt. Mouillee in August turned extraordinary when this lovely bird provided gorgeous looks to a number of birders 'touring' the SGA.

8. WildBird Magazine Photo Contest Winner.  In August I was notified by Amy Hooper that I had taken 2nd and 3rd Places in the Digiscoping Category of the magazine's annual photo contest.  I also learned that the August issue was also the last for the magazine, which was ceasing publication (hopefully not because of my entries...).

9. Northern Gannets.  A September cruise to New England / Canada gave me the opportunity to photograph the gannet colony on Bonaventure Island in Quebec.  Heavy seas and thousands of birds provided an unforgettable experience w/o the need for Dramamine.

10. Long-billed Curlew.  A chance to digiscope this magnificent bird on the white sands of Fort DeSoto Park in Florida topped off a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend w/ Robin and sister Michelle.

In just a few hours 2012 will draw to a close.  It has been a 'Great' and a 'Gray' year in more ways than one.  The list above is certainly 'Great' for me, and is only a small part of other great and memorable moments: Biggest Week in American Birding, yard fallouts, warbler migrations from the front porch, and others.  But there were also 'Gray' moments, like Dad's sudden passing in February, and Mom-in-Law's sudden passing in August that left both families saddened and exhausted for most of the year.  They are both missed.

May 2013 bring many more great birds and moments, and less sadness for all.


sdkielb said...

Wow! Thanks for the encore, Jerry. I can enjoy looking at these over and over (and over) again. Just amazing.

h2otara said...

Jerry - I'm so sorry for your losses this year, I had no idea. Your highs were many and very special--congratulations on the wonderful photos you got of so many special birds, and especially on your TWO wins in the WB contest! Tara

Paul Poronto said...

another year of amazing photos!!!

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