As we have done in 2009, 2008, and 2007, Charlie, Mike, and I have decided to share our top ten birding moments of the year with all of you. 2010 was filled with great birding moments and we had a hard time paring this year’s crop down to ten. Somehow, though, we managed to do it, and here are our top ten birding moments of 2010 in (mostly) chronological order…
scoping the ice-cold dawn at the Superbowl of Birding
In January I participated, for the second year in a row, in the Superbowl of Birding. In addition to having a great time and winning a prize the Bloggerhead Kingbirds managed to spot some rarities before the competition even started!
While I was freezing unsavory aspects of my anatomy, Mike kicked off what turned out to be our Ecuador Immersion Year in the company of our friend Renato. His first trip to South America moved him so profoundly that he still hasn’t recounted the last day of his action-packed four-day journey, but who wouldn’t be permanently stunned by the epic birding at places like Yanacocha Reserve, Refugio Paz de las Aves, Septimo Paraiso, Reserva Mangaloma, Mirador del Rio Blanco, and Pululahua Hostal?
I sadly missed the coveted Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe. Mike didn’t…
Though Charlie, world-traveler that he is, rarely admits it, he really does like sitting at home and enjoying his common garden birds. After quitting his airline job he had much more time to do just that and, apparently, sitting and watching his common garden birds became one of his top birding moments of 2010. In April, Charlie wrote a series of posts about three of them, the Goldfinch, the Collared Dove, and the Blue Tit. His new appreciation for his garden birds has nothing to do, I have been assured, with his advancing age, but is merely an acknowledgment of the shallowness of rushing about the countryside ticking rarities for no good reason.
In May, I did a Big Day in my home borough of Queens and we really cleaned up! Seeing 150 species in one borough in one day is, so far as I can tell, the all-time, one-day, single-borough record for New York City. It was an exhausting and exciting day, full of rarities and unexpected birds like White-faced Ibis, Little Gull, Summer Tanager, and Bicknell’s Thrush!
May found Mike in the thick of the Biggest Week in American Birding. Everything you’ve heard about spring migration at Magee Marsh and the shores of Lake Erie is absolutely true. Biggest Week was HUGE and Mike was thrilled to be a part of it (thanks, Kim!).
Alpine Choughs where they belong, in the Alps
In June, Charlie explored the wilds (and not-so-wilds) of the Austrian Alps for six days with Wildlife Travel. Despite absurd weather-related issues he conveniently did a blog post for each day he was there. So if you want to read about day one, two, three, four, five, or six you can easily pick your poison (days three, four and six are the best for those who like bird pictures like the one above).
June also found Mike abroad, this time to Panama and the legendary Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge. A week enjoying some of the best birding in Central America with some of the best guides in the world goes beyond memorable and into unforgettable territory. Plus, along with a boatload of lifers, Mike saw tons of new mammal species: 4 monkeys, 2 sloths, 2 tree rats, 1 kinkajou, and an anteater in a tree!
Whooping Motmot on the world-famous Pipeline Road
In August, Charlie was once again fortunate enough to attend the British Birdfair, the biggest birding event of the year in England, and, almost without a doubt, the world. He provided a survival guide prior to Birdfair and then gave (at least slightly tongue-in-cheek) awards after Birdfair was done for the year.
In November, several fellow birders from Queens and I followed in Mike’s footsteps and had an absolutely awesome trip to Ecuador that I am still blogging about. Highlights included hand-feeding Maria the Giant Antpitta, getting great high-elevation birds, seeing my 1,000th species of bird, and spotting a Long-wattled Umbrellabird. If those aren’t enough you can find all the posts that have ever appeared on 10,000 Birds about Ecuador here. It was a great trip and I highly recommend a visit!
Ecuadorian Hillstar at Antisana Ecological Reserve, a place everyone should visit before they die
Without a doubt, the number one highlight of our year was when 10,000 Birds added many talented new beat writers to the blog. We think that the new voices add breadth and depth that were to some degree lacking and we hope that our readers like the additional reading material. Whether you prefer the first group, the second wave, or the final beats, we think that you’ll agree that there are some great writers on this here bird blog!
Here’s hoping that your 2010 was as bird filled as ours and that everyone’s 2011 is just as wonderful! And a big thank you to all you readers (and especially those of you who comment) for taking the time to read about and share our love of all things with feathers.