Saturday, December 29, 2012

Year in Review-Birding

Turkey Vulture at dawn at Catalina State Park
It's no secret.  Birding has become a big thing for me.  I've always loved travel and adding the birds into the mix was a no brainer. 
Barn Swallow near Sonoita, AZ
Earlier this year, I began to bird at a slow pace but things started to change for me when my birding buddy and friend Kathie moved back into town.
Black crowned Night Heron, Reid Park, AZ
I began to chase, list and tick all at the same time while snapping off the shots. And with a great birding buddy, I discovered how to enjoy birding even more!
Vermilion Flycatcher, Lakeside Park, Tucson
It has been a wonderful learning experience and the voyages are most memorable.
Painted Redstart, Portal, AZ
As I bird more, I'm finding better ways to make each outing a little bit more enjoyable by finding birder places to sleep at and shop while researching birds found in their areas.
Brown Pelican Tucson, AZ
Of course, this year was a big training year for me and staying home in Southern Arizona was very important.  I was but a beginner in January.  The learning curve happened when Warren challenged me to explore the world of hummingbirds.  And so I did. And it was at that time I began to enjoy the hunt.  It would become apparent during my chase for the rare Plain Capped Starthroat Hummingbird.  Some nights I could not sleep until I found the bird!
Anna's Hummingbird, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ
I read through journals, books and blogs researching everything.  Today that hunger has translated into a powerful sense of what's around me during my hikes.  It is incredible how much I've learned in this short amount of time.  And much of this is from my questions that no one could answer.  When Kathie came into the picture, she helped guide me.  It didn't take much time to learn as I was very eager to understand the ways of the birder.  And oh my....there is still so much more to learn!
Tree Swallow, Woodland Dunes, Two Rivers, WI
Today we are a very strong team and as we both love birding alone, we also really enjoy our birding time together.  If we're not careful we'll turn into those old and weird birder couples:)  The important thing that Kathie taught me was to count every bird on every outing and create lists.  This has made birding so much fun because now I try to find as many species as I can.  The more species you find; the higher the satisfaction of a job well done. Ebirding has been an enjoyable experience for me and now it's something I automatically do right after our outings.
Grey Crowned Crane, Baraboo, WI at the Crane Foundation
Again, along the way, I have had side missions.  The Owls(besides the Hummingbirds) were on my study list this past year and it was so much fun.
Great Horned Owlets at Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson
Because of these experiences I have learned a lot about ID'ing these birds by sound and movement.
Female Broad bill Hummingbird at Madera Canyon, AZ
Woodpeckers, Sparrows, Shorebirds and other Waterfowl have been my focus of study.

Northern Flicker at Empire Gulch, AZ
Eventually I'd like to put together a book full of birds discovered.  I'm currently at 250 birds and constantly searching for more. My New Year's Resolution is to add another 150(or more) by the end of the next year.

Northern Shoveler, Sweetwater
I attend workshops and nature talks to understand the various bird species.
Black throated Sparrow, Gates Pass, AZ
I hate searching for Warblers.  They are a real workout for the eyes.  Spotting one bounce around in the trees makes things pretty exhausting.
Female Common Yellowthroat Warbler, Arivaca Trail, AZ
Whooping Crane, Baraboo, WI
Of course, one of my goals is to see the Whooping Crane in the wild.  This summer we spent time at the Crane Foundation and learned lots.  This crane has inspired me to learn more about the habitats of birds and protecting them.  Next year will be an exciting year full of new and wonderful finds.  But I have to say that this year has been a great start! 


  1. I find big and brutal birds like your Turkey Vulture the most fascinating. Here we get Common Buzzards, which always stand out menacingly in the trees at this time of year.

  2. It's been a good year for you. I wish you all the very best for the coming one.

  3. To wspaniałe mieć przyjaciela, który ma takie same pasje. Śliczne ptaki i wszystkie uwielbiam. Pozdrawiam.
    It's great to have a friend who has the same passions. Beautiful birds and they all love. Yours.

  4. Wonderful photos Chris. Your enjoyment in birding shines through your posts and you've already built up an impressive list of species seen. Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2013 filled with wildlife :)

  5. Sounds like you've had a bit of an epiphany in 2012, Chris. I'm sure that 2013 will be an amazing year for you, and I look forward to reading all about it!

  6. Congrats. They are all GREAT... Not sure I have a favorite but I do love that Grey Crowned Crane... Gorgeous bird.

    Happy New Year.

  7. You have had a great year Chris. I have enjoyed the reviews!

  8. This is a wonderful post Chris. I wish you (and Kathie) the best of luck birding in 2013. I hope you are able to add 150+ more birds next year.

  9. Chris, it has been a great year of birding for you! I enjoyed this post and seeing all your bird and wonderful photos. I hope 2013 is a great year for you too. Happy Birding! And I wish you a very Happy New Year!

  10. You have come far in a year grasshopper. It is fun and absorbing to learn about the natural world around us. So glad I've been able to follow along on your birding adventures. One of these days I'll make it your way so you can share some of this fun in the real time. And I would encourage you to put together that book with some of your awesome photos.

  11. Wonderful to see all your fabulous pictures again and read of your success and happiness. I wish you more of the same for 2013!

  12. truly amazing shots from 2012!!

    looking forward to moving on into 2013!! it's going to be a great year, i just know it!!

    Happy birding to you in 2013 !! =)

  13. Fabulous birding photos for the year! I have really enjoyed following you on your journey into really serious birding! It's been a delightful adventure and I am jealous!


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