January 01, 2008

Top Nature Moments of 2007

Well, it's that time of year, again. The day western civilization arbitrarily chose to mark the passing of another trip around our little star. New Years Day doesn't really mean that much to me anymore. Well, aside from it being my mom's birthday, of course. I used to get all revved up and excited about watching the obscenely wasteful tradition of spending millions of dollars and thousands of tons of carbon to light up a big ball on top of a building in the most obnoxiously well-lit city on earth. But it really doesn't do much for me anymore. Neither does going to parties and ringing in the New Year with tons of people. Personally, I was much more excited to just just stay home and watch a movie with Sonja than anything else this year.

I am finally getting around to responding to Patrick's meme tag, though. So, here they are. The top nature moments for 2007 (in chronological order):

10. Wood Bison on the Alaska Highway, Yukon Territory (or was it British Columbia?), January 01, 2007:

Exactly one year ago today, Sonja and I were driving down the very lonely Alaska Highway on our way to Arizona. Along the way, we encountered a herd of wood bison hanging out along the road. We slowed down to give Harvey a chance to say hi.

9. Javelina in our backyard, January 21, 2007:

Your first encounter with a new species is always the most exciting. This was our first experience watching javelina out our bedroom window. They have since become rather regular guests in our neighborhood, which we don't really mind unless one of the stinky males decides to flavor our yard with his pungent oder.

8. Hiking in Sedona, March, 2007: Our first real hike among the red rocks of Sedona is still one of my favorites.

7. Catching my first rattlesnake, April 1, 2007: I was actually pretty paranoid about encountering a rattlesnake when we first moved here. However, after getting a chance to capture several rattlesnakes at the park this year, my paranoia has turned into cautious excitement at the prospect of encountering one while hiking (something we still haven't experienced, yet).

6. The Painted Redstart, Oak Creek Canyon, April 18, 2007: Obviously, I'm going to be picking some birding moments for my list. And my first encounter with a Painted Redstart certainly deserves a mention.

5. Black Widow Spider, May 16, 2007: Out of all the assorted creepy crawly things we've found in and around our little house in the desert, none of them can come close to the cool-factor exhibited by one of our prettiest eight-legged neighbors this year, the Black Widow.

4. The Arizona Heat, all summer long, 2007: The climate here in Arizona deserves a mention, too. I lost track of the number of 100+ days we experienced. At first it was pretty awful, but then you just sort of figure out how to avoid the worst of it. It was pretty frustrating to look outside at a beautifully sunny day and know that there was no way to really enjoy it, though.

3. Hummingbird Swarms, all summer long, 2007:

One of my favorite experiences this year without a doubt was the incredibly number of hummingbirds visiting our feeders. A the height of the season we had five feeders up, and had to refill all of them every day and a half. We would go through about seven gallons of sugar-water every week.

2. Condors in the Canyon, August 17, 2007: Every opportunity to encounter an endangered species is pretty special. Getting to see a critically endangered species with a nine and a half foot wingspan is just freakin' awesome.

I had a really hard time choosing the last of my top ten nature moments. I could have gone with the tarantula I finally saw in our backyard, or the Northern Jacana we saw during a 340+ mile twitch. But when it comes down to it, I had to go with all of the experiences I had out in nature as a result of getting our brand new camera. So, to end the list, here's one of my favorite posts featuring some of what I believe are the best photographs I've ever taken.

1. Becoming a better nature photographer, September - December, 2007.

So, there you have it. My top nature moments of 2007. Happy New Year, everyone. And thanks for reading my blog!


T.R. said...

And those moments were great living vicariously through you here on your blog!

Mom "A" said...

Visiting your blog helps me feel like I'm there with you and Sonja on your great adventures. Thanks for all the work you put into it!
Mom "A"

T.R. said...

Sorry Paul, I got tagged for the 7 Random Things meme and now I am tagging you. You might have already done it. A perfect winter weekend thing to think about. Tim

P. Ollig said...

Heh, thanks! It'll give me something to blog about. I just haven't been very motivated to do this the last couple months...