To continue a tradition I started in 2008, the following are my top wildlife highlights of 2012 in chronological order:
Last winter, Albuquerque hosted several Pine Warblers, rare for the area. I was able to get good looks at one that was hanging out in the pines near the residence of the President of the University of New Mexico.
On a field trip I led for Central New Mexico Audubon to the Estancia Valley in January, we were able to get observe a couple of Rough-legged Hawks, not always found this far south.
A pair of Common Goldeneyes and a juvenile, probably their offspring, took advantage of the stocked ponds at Tingley Beach last winter.
While I often spot sleeping porcupines curled up on bare branches during the winter, I had never seen one on the ground before. When I was leading a Great Backyard Bird Count walk for the Botanical Gardens, we encountered a porcupine napping at the base of a tree.
During the Thursday Birders stop at Melrose Trap on New Mexico’s eastern plains last spring during our Birdathon, we were fortunate to see a rare-for-New-Mexico Blackpoll Warbler.
It was thrilling to watch several species of terns fishing and nesting at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
I was thrilled to discover a pair of Northern Cardinals feeding a chick at the Sepulveda Wildlife Reserve.
It has been a dream of mine to see penguins in the wild, so was thrilled to see Humboldt Penguins roosting in their cave and swimming near our boat off the coast of Peru.
It is impossible to pick a bird species to highlight from my trip to Peru; however, I was captivated by Scarlet Macaws that roosted near our cabin at Manu Wildlife Center along the Madre de Dios.
In the early morning the day we left Manu Wildlife Center, a tapir appeared at the stairs to dining hall as I was putting my shoes on before our group headed to our river boat.
And today, after posting this, I saw an American Dipper in the Corrales drain – a bird that has evaded me in New Mexico!