Thought I’d share my slant on the past year. A big year is common in the birding world, try to see as many as possible in a given area from 1/1 to 12/31.
When 2010 started Jon Hall had seen more mammals in North America than I had. And the guy doesn’t even live here! Well, that’s because he’d been trying and I hadn’t. So I started off the year with a vague ambition of catching Jon.
When Matt Miller showed up with a place for Idaho Ground Squirrels and American Badgers, I figured that was a good place to go. Doh. That was a fantastic trip. Then Vladimir Dinets told us about Carrizo Plain NM, which turns out to be a truly wonderful place.
When I decided to do a BCI bat workshop in June, I figured I might as well go for broke and make it a big year. Trying for Alaska Marmot was an inspiration and an adventure (yea, Vladimir!!) and I ended up with 135 species, 88 of which were lifers.
My “favorite” is a three way tie between Long-tailed Weasel, which was so unexpected and obliging, hearing a Pygmy Rabbit, Ringtail, Beluga, Island Gray Fox, Greater Bonneted Bat and both Pikas, LOL. My biggest surprise was Kangaroo Rats. I had never even seen one before and found 7 species. They are cute as buttons, IMHO, and were often quite cooperative, even hopping over to me and looking up at me from 2 feet away, then hopping away.
Best to all in 2011,