Friday, 4 January 2013

These Are Some of My Favourite Birds

The tough birds I found all on my own are some of my favourites, such as the Northern Lapwing, Nutting's Flycatcher, Tufted Duck, Barnacle Goose, and especially the Pink-footed Goose.  I loved spotting the Sooty Grouse, White-headed Woodpecker, Rufous-backed Robin and Western Spindalis all on my own.  I loved all the Flycatchers, especially the elusive Fork-tailed Flycatcher and the beautiful Vermilion Flycatcher.  The Hummingbirds were particularly beautiful, including the Plain-capped Starthroat I saw at the Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast and the Allen's at Babe's place.  If I had to pick a favourite duck, it would be the Northern Pintail.

And I want to some day see all the owls.  Not just in North America, but everywhere.  I never realized how many species of owls there are,(224), and how beautiful they can be.  I loved the Barn and Boreal Owls.  And I won't forget the Whooping Cranes or the satisfaction of finding the Audubon's Oriole in Texas and the MacGilvary's Warbler after a long search on a chilly day in Boston.  And I could look at Waxwings all day.  Very elegant birds.  But there was an even more elegant bird.

All three species of Puffins probably came a close second to my favourite bird of the year.  I saw Tufted and Horned on a pelagic out of Seward, Alaska and Atlantic Puffins in Newfoundland.  They were great birds all, wonderfully cute, but I was taken to them, rather than finding them on my own.  So, they end up a close second.

The winner as my favourite bird of the year, for its rarity, the time spent looking for it, the satisfaction of finding it and it's shear beauty, has to be the Elegant Trogon.  I looked for it on two occasions up at the Cary Nation Trail in Madera Canyon, both alone and with Matt Brown.  And then, on my last day in Arizona for the year, one was spotted in my favourite birding spot in North America, Patagonia Lake State Park.

I rushed over there, and had about 3 hours to find it before I had to drive back to Tucson to get to the airport and catch a flight.  I walked the stream bed for nearly the entire three hours when I turned my head in the exact right direction at the exact right time and there it was, not 10 feet in front of my nose.  And it neither of us got spooked.  I took photos, the Trogon posed for said photos.  It was one of the more exciting birds of the year, though finding the Rufous-backed Robin got me pretty pumped too.

Below, the Elegant Trogon, and some photos from the last few days of the year, followed by some of my favourite birds in the last half of the year.

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