Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Finale

For the past twelve or so years I have been putting together calendars that Michelle and I give to family and friends as holiday gifts each year. These calendars are a reflection on the past year and usually contain what I feel were the best pictures that we took during the year. Since the end of the year is usually a time to look back and reflect on the past year, it has become sort of a tradition to end the year by publishing all of the calendar photos here in the blog as a sort of retrospective of the year.

Over the years many calendars have featured quite a few pictures that we have taken while we were on vacation. This year we travelled to south Texas back at the end of February so you will see quite a few pictures from Texas here. The cover pic above is an immature Harris hawk that we photographed at the Martin Refuge in Texas.
January featured this photograph of a great kiskadee that we photographed in Bentsen State Park, also in Texas. a couple of days after I took this shot we saw one of these fly into the glass at the Santa Ana NWR. It was a sad reminder of the effect that we humans can have on nature.
This rough-legged hawk, which I photographed at Crex Meadows in Wisconsin, graces the month of February. In November I found quite a few rough-legged hawks in Crex Meadows, both light and dark color phases. Since these birds breed up on the Arctic Circle, where there are not many people, they did not seem to have the same type of fear of people that other raptor have and often flew right over my head.
We have photographed roseate spoonbills in the Ding Darling NWR, Everglades National Park, and other parks in south Florida in the past but we have never been able to get as close or get such clear pictures as we did on South Padre Island. This spoonbill almost walked right up to us at the South Padre Birding and Nature Center.
April featured the only picture in this years calendar that was taken in Minnesota. I photographed this beautiful reflection of a white pelican while I was at Dragonfly Weekend, sponsored by the MOSP, in Morris, MN. Because I was up early I was able to get the shot just after the sun came up. The combination of early morning light and still water helped to make the surface of the water shine like glass.
May belongs to Michelle. She took this photo of a green jay at the Laguna Atascosa. Both of us took many pictures of this colorful south Texas specialty bird but I always like to include at least one picture that Michelle has taken in the calendar. Since she does not take very many pictures at least by my standards, it is sometimes difficult.
A pair of northern caracara from the Martin Refuge is featured in June. We spent several hours in their raptor blind one morning taking pictures of the Harris hawks and northern caracara as they flew in to eat the food that the refuge provided.
For July I choose this least grebe photo that I took at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands in south Texas. The least grebe is the smallest member of the grebe family in North America. It was also a life bird for Michelle and I.
Action often makes for better photographs and this photo which occupies August is full of action. I took the photo in the Laguna Atascosa when a group of three turkey vultures made an attempt to abscond with an osprey's hard earned meal. After a minute or so of posturing on both sides the osprey grabbed the fish and flew off. However the vultures where not far behind.
There was nothing common about the September shot of this common loon. The posture of the wings as well as the water droplets on the head help to make this shot more unique. This is Michelle's favorite picture in the calendar.
This Altamira oriole is another south Texas specialty that made it into this years calendar. Over the past couple years I have been adding smaller pictures in some of the open spaces in the calendars. Last year the smaller pictures included a Bullock's oriole, which I photographed in Idaho, and a Baltimore oriole, which I photographed around home, but this was the first oriole to get the main photograph for October or any other month. This was a life bird for Michelle and I.
Photographing at the Martin Refuge was our most productive time while we were in Texas. You can see that many of the calendar pictures, including these last three, came from the Martin Refuge. This adult Harris hawk, November, was photographed at the raptor blind at the Martin Refuge.
After photographing raptors all morning we moved on to a songbird blind after lunch. The northern cardinals at the first blind that we went to were kind of aggressive and chased away many of the other birds. Despite the fact that people in Texas claim that the cardinals there are more red then they are elsewhere I was still not very excited about photographing them, since they are pretty common here in Minnesota, so we moved on to another blind.
The second songbird blind that we moved to was much more productive. We were able to photograph quite a few of the south Texas specialties including the pyrrhuoxia, which was featured in December, and the olive sparrow, above, which took its place on the back cover. Both of these were life birds for Michelle and I. So 2010 was an amazing year for me, especially for bird and dragonfly photography, hopefully things will continue here in 2011.
Happy New Year!


Pagan Sphinx said...

Beautiful series. The one of the pelican (?) in the thumbnail really caught my eye. A splendid photo of an amazing bird.

Happy New Year!

lotusleaf said...

What a wonderful gift for a friend!I liked the pink spoonbill's picture.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the beautiful work on your blog which I discovered this year. And for introducing me to more places of nature and beauty in Minnesota.

Here's an Emily Dickinson poem recently given to me in a book by Sam Keen. Some sentiments for the new year.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune - without the words,
And never stops at all.

Peace to you and yours in 2011.


Kay L. Davies said...

The stillness of the water in the pelican picture makes it a classic, but some of your other calendar photos are equally wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful shots!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a collection of great photographs. Wonderful!

Kristin said...

You have very lovely blog. Thanks for the introduction to so many amazing birds and the beautiful places.

Happy New Year. Have great year ahead. Have a nice day too.