I've got a love/hate relationship with those year-in-review, best-of lists. Normally I LOVE them because I miss a lot of good stuff in the course of the year (new music, movies, books, etc) and it's nice to see what other people pick as their favorites or what is chosen as the year's best whatever.
I tried to make my own 'best of' list this weekend: My Best Birds of 2007. That crazy train quickly ran off the rails. What, after all, constitutes "best"? Life birds? I got two in 2007: Florida scrub-jay in January in The Sunshine State, and American three-toed woodpecker in November in New Mexico. Those two birds pushed me into the mid-to-high 600s on the old life list (I really need to update that). But I also got loads of lifers in my three trips outside the U.S. this year. How do you fairly compare the relative merits of an Andean cock-of-the-rock with a LeConte's sparrow? I decided to limit this initial list to the continental U.S.
Were the best birds the rarest ones I saw? Or the most challenging to find? Or the most cooperative? Most beautiful?
Because I was blogging about this list, it would be useful to include on the list birds I had photographed. That's IT! My Best Bird Photos of 2007!
Still, the hair pulling was not over. I have images stored in several places on at least two different computers. I lost a lot of good images from North Dakota in an iPhoto crash. And how do I choose the bird photos? Sharpest? Largest in the frame? Rarest? Most cooperative? Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!
I woke up at 4:45 this morning determined to get this post finished. It's now 10 am and I'm still looking through images. STOP THE MADNESS!
Folks, I done did my best. I'm leaving a lot out, but I'm also saving you from seeing every single shot I took (somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 images).
I hope you like the images I chose. Please feel free to send along your comments.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Limpkin, Viera Wetlands, near Titusville, FL., January,
Florida scrub-jay. Merritt Island NWR, Florida, January.
Digiscoped. Hybrid drake blue-winged x cinnamon teal. Viera Wetlands, near Titusville,FL. January.
Willet, Merritt Island, NWR, FL. January.
Turkey vulture, Merritt Island, NWR, FL. January.
Eastern bluebird male, Whipple, OH, February.
Tern comparison: Forster's tern (left) and common tern (right) Muskingum River, Marietta, OH, May.
White-eyed vireo, Whipple, OH. May.
Prairie warbler, singing male, Whipple, OH. May.
Blue-winged warbler, singing male, Whipple, OH. May.