Top Wildlife Highlights of 2009

To continue the tradition started last year – the following are my 10 top wildlife highlights of 2009 – listed chronologically.

1. Watching a Golden Eagle at close range as it sat on the top of a power pole across the road from where we were parked on a back road south of Moriarty, NM.

Resplendent Quetzal - Bosque de Paz2. It was hard to choose which of the birds and mammals in Costa Rica were most memorable. I decided the bird had to be the Resplendent Quetzal because of its brilliant colors, and the White-faced Capuchin Monkey takes top mammal billing.

Cactus Wren - Embudo Canyon

3. Cactus Wrens in the Sandia foothills – spring nest-building and fall roost nest-building.

4. Watching the flocks of White Pelicans circle over the Bosque del Apache NWR during spring migration.

5. Watching Painted Buntings with their multi-colored, iridescent plumage visit the feeders at Los Maples State Park in the Texas Hill Country.

6. Having two Clapper Rails copulate right below me as I walked along the boardwalk on South Padre Island, Texas at dusk.

7. A Scott’s Oriole that landed on a bush near where I was exploring the Copper Trailhead Open Space doing research for the book I am co-authoring – Birding Hotspots of Central New Mexico.

Rufous Hummingbird

8. The Rufous Hummingbird that set up a migration territory in my yard for a week in September.

9. Avocets and Black-necked Stilts in the Los Angeles River.

10. Evening Grosbeaks – at a feeder in the Jemez Mountains, feeding young at Capulin Spring and a flock gorging on berries observed on the Christmas Bird Count.

One thought on “Top Wildlife Highlights of 2009

  1. I’ve been trying to attract Rufous hummingbirds to my yard. Are there any specific feeders you recommend? So far, I found Perky-Pet’s Top Fill feeders. Have you heard of them? They’re probably the easiest to fill and clean.

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