2017 Was a pretty great year overall! I met several professional goals, took up mountain biking (which I was able to do until the begin of December- woo!) and had some amazing wildlife encounters. I photographed lots of birds, mammals and herps and added many to my life lists. I also had the opportunity to explore some new places I’ve always wanted to visit. Here is a quick recap of a fantastic year of birding and wildlife adventures.
The Colorado Chicken Run, April 2017
I spent nine days chasing all the grouse species in Colorado.In case your wondering Colorado has a whopping 7 species of grouse! In the early spring male grouse congregate on a lek to display for females. I’ve had this trip on my bucket list for quite a while now and was stoked to finally have the chance to watch each species preform their unique display. It was a world wind epic adventure covering a total driving distance of 2500 km. In those nine days we managed to see all the grouse except White-tailed Ptarmigan (not a lifer, but would have been nice) plus several other interesting species. It was a little early for herps, but the birds and mammals of Colorado did not disappoint. If you haven’t already add this trip to your bucket list, it was sooooo worth the 4 am alarms each morning.
Australia, October & November 2017
My big trip for 2017 was to Australia, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. Five weeks, 9 flights and 5000 km driven later we had one heck of a trip. I saw so much incredible wildlife it was at times overwhelming (which way should I point my lense?). Of course, the birds put on a good show, but the mammals were just as spectacular. I managed to see many of the mammals we were hoping for including Tasmanian Devil, Platypus, Echidna and Koala. Stay tuned for more blog posts to come about Australia more to come.
Traveling is fun, but being at home has its perks as well. 2017 Seemed to be the year of vagrants in Southern Ontario- but perhaps they are all so fresh in my memory it just feels that way. The year started out full on with a Smith’s Longspur in the Long Point area which had stuck around after being spotted on the Christmas Bird Count (December 2016). After the longspur the vagrants continued to appear. I couldn’t chase them all unfortunately, but I was able to chase a few including Magnificent Frigatebird (Point Pelee National Park, Leamington), Willow Ptarmigan (Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto), Blue Grosbeak (High Park, Toronto), Tricolored Heron (Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto) and Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto). I finished 2017 with one final vagrant Tufted Duck (Ben Machree Park, Mississauga). Many of these birds were new to my life list and all were new for my Ontario list. I look forward to the vagrants 2018 brings. Hopefully they decide to appear close to home ?
General Ontario Birding
2017 was the year of the Dickcissel in Ontario. It was very exciting to see these birds in such high breeding numbers in the province. In addition to chasing some Dickcissels, I was fortunate to visit several interesting places in Ontario this year including Algonquin Park, Carden Alvar and Wolfe Island. I also had the opportunity to use my Canada Parks Discovery Pass a couple of times with visits to Point Pelee National Park and Georgian Bay Islands National Park. So many cool places and so many photos left to edit!
My hope for 2018 is to explore some new places, see new things and enjoy the ride along the way.