The Tops of ’11

Another year of birding has come and gone.  It has been an awesome year, with great birds seen, great places visited, and great photos taken.  A few birds, places, and photos have left great memories this year, and here they are… the “Tops of ’11”

BIRDS

# 5

Short-eared Owl

March 17, 2011- Sherwood Island State Park, CT.

Looking into the eyes of a wild owl is quite an experience.  And a Short-eared Owl, that elusive marsh hunter, is no exception.

# 4

Upland Sandpiper

June 26, 2011- Rentchler Field, Hartford, CT

On a CYBC trip in June, one of our targets was Upland Sandpiper, and it was a target well scored.  Besides being one wacky looking shorebird, it was a fabulous look at a species that is declining as it’s grassland habitat diminishes.  An awesome bird!

# 3

Sooty Grouse

July 1, 2011- Hurricane Ridge, WA

One of the three goals I had set on the trip to the Olympic Peninsula, this elusive grouse was a great spot by my dad alongside the road.   It was a female with chicks- so double the sighting!  If one is ever in need of a good Sooty Grouse- Hurricane Ridge is the place to go.

# 2

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

September 10, 2011- Milford Pt., Milford, CT

A surprise find by me and an awesome bird! Besides Upland Sandpiper, this was another really wacky shorebird.  But it has a beauty that is really incredible.  It got so close I could barely fit the whole bird in a digiscoped photo.

# 1

Tufted Puffin

July 1, 2011- Cape Flattery, WA

This is one bird even nonbirders look at and go ” wow.  That’s one heck of an animal”  At Cape Flattery, these guys definitely stole the show.  Their breathtaking appearence and comical wackiness made this the star bird of 2011.

Places

# 5

Plum Island, MA

This is an awesome New England birding hotspot, and the place I got the last year bird of 2011- Snowy Owl, Dec. 30.  Even though it has nice marsh and beach scenery, the real stunner is the sunset.  This pic was taken just a few days ago.

# 4

Reed’s Beach, NJ

Not really a “beautiful” place, but being here at the horseshoe crab spawning and bird feeding spectacle in May was quite an experience.  It was a feeding frenzy with a cacophony of sound and a multitude of cool species.

# 3

Mt. St. Helens , WA

This was a real stunning place.  It really looked like Middle-earth or another fantasy world.  As life crept back into the barren world, you could see all the signs of the eruption and witness forests and meadows in their early stages.

# 2

Paradise, Mt. Rainier, WA

Whenever it’s June and you’re surrounded by 7 feet of snow you know you’re in an amazing place.  Standing up in the peaks, you really feel like the sky is sitting on your shoulders.

# 1

Ruby Beach, WA

I don’t really know what made Ruby Beach my favorite place I went this year.  Perhaps it was the seashore beauty.  Perhaps it was the Pacific air.  Perhaps it was the peacefulness and freedom you felt while walking among the seastacks or skipping stones on it’s quiet pools.  Perhaps maybe, It was the Black Oystercatchers and Red Crossbills.  All I can say is, this is one awesome beach.

 Bird Photos

# 5

Cooper's Hawk- Stamford, CT, in February.

# 4

Blue Grosbeak- Westport, CT, in September

#3

Laughing Gull- Cape May, NJ, September.

#2

Gray Jay- Mt. Rainier, WA, June

#1

Greater Yellowlegs- Hammonasset State Park, CT, September

Epilogue:

Let’s not forget about 2012 though!  I kicked off the year on Cape Ann, MA, where the star bird was Harlequin Duck.  This is the first bird photo of the year-

Drake Harlequin

Happy New Year everyone and have an exciting bird filled 2012!

– BM

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One response to “The Tops of ’11

  1. I totally understand your favorite place as a beach on the Olympic Peninsula. The OP is most definitely my favorite and the most beautiful place I have ever been. Great year report!

    James

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