To continue a tradition I started in 2008, the following are my top wildlife highlights of 2012 in chronological order:
Watching the crows come into roost at Albuquerque’s Coronado Mall – truly a winter spectacle as hundreds of crows converge on the mall and settle into the branches of a number of bare-branched trees.
Seeking out and keeping a watch on nesting Great Horned Owls in the Albuquerque area.
On a visit to the Sepulveda Wildlife Area near Encino, I encountered an Anna’s Hummingbird on a nest.
Helping to band and radio tag a Cooper’s Hawk, part of the Albuquerque Cooper’s Hawk Project, – then getting to release it afterwards, was a real thrill. I monitored 8 different nests in 2012 – from courtship displays and nest-building to fledgling chicks.
It was hard to pick one highlight from my trip to Southeast Arizona with my friend Bonnie. I saw so many colorful birds; however, the highlight would have to be watching an Elf Owl emerge from his hole – by the light of May 2012’s ‘super moon.’
My favorite wildlife sighting in Minnesota, was the opportunity to see a Common Loon sitting on its nest.
While I saw many new birds in North Dakota, I loved coming across a herd of bison on the refuge road at Arrowwood NWR.
It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the birds coming into the ‘Log’ at Capulin Spring Picnic Area this past summer – after being closed for a couple of years.
While researching our next book on birding hot spots in north-central New Mexico, we were treated to a flock of Evening Grosbeaks feasting on berries at Coyote State Park.
I was lucky to be able to get good looks at least two of the White-winged Crossbills that spent time in the Sandia Mountains during the summer of 2012.
Two of my favorite birds from my trip to Ecuador in November were the Andean Condor
and the prehistoric-looking Hoatzins.
During the Sandia Christmas Bird Count, we had the good future of encountering a flock of at least 200 Pinyon Jays.