Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 10 Nature Moments of 2007

If 10,000 Birds and The Hawk Owl's Nest can do it, so can I. Here are my personal Top 10 Nature Moments of 2007.

10. All four Longspurs in a year!

Starting with a vagrant Smith's Longspur with Laplands on Long Island early this year, I managed to be successful in seeing all four Longspurs when I found both McKay's and Chestnut-colored in Wyoming in August.

9. A long-time nemesis falls: Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow

I blog this really cool species again and again and again, looking at both subspecies identification and the reasons for the Nelson's / Saltmarsh species split.

8. Stadium Birding

Stadium birding is always a hit. Especially when you get to watch 19 Warbler species and 42 species total... at 1am.

7. Montezuma Muckrace

I competed in the Montezuma Muckrace for the third time this fall, for the second time with one of two student teams from Cornell. This year, my team managed to place third, tied with Chris Tessaglia-Hymes's team with 122 species. The after-action report from the Muckrace indicated that our team raised $265 and the Muckrace total raised a record high amount of over $10k!

6. I fall in love with Red-bellies!

I got a herp lifer, Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), promptly found about 30 more over the course of the summer, and have absolutely fallen in love.

5. Allegany State Park herping

My band of herping friends and I traveled to Allegany State Park, pulling down a whopping total of 25 species in a weekend, with four lifers including the stunning Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda).

4. My NY big year in herps - 40 species total

I never got to writing a summary post on my unofficial herping big year in NY, but it was big!

14 species of salamander (4 lifers)
11 species of frog (2 lifers)
3 species of turtle (a lifer subspecies)
1 species of lizard (a lifer)
11 species of snake (6 lifers)

For a total of 40 species and 13 lifers! Not bad at all for NY, even though I had some major misses.

Selected herping posts:
Spring Field Survey (Black Rat Snake)
Allegany State Park (Long-tailed Salamander, Wehrle's Salamander, Short-headed Garter)
Green Snake and Coal Skink
Sniffing Mink Frogs in the Adirondacks
Long Island Herping (Marbled Salamander, Ribbon Snake)

3. Winter Finches!

Certainly the highlight of NY birding this year has been the Winter Finch Invasion! We in the Cayuga Lake Basin have finally completed the Winter Finch Sweep (although I have not, personally - I still need Hoary Redpoll and White-winged Crossbill... as lifers!).

Select posts:

Seeing those finches for myself
Where are the Bohemian Waxwings?
Patterns of Winter Irruptives

2. TAing my Field Biology Class... in the Field!

This semester I was a Teaching Assistant for Introductory Field Biology with my mentor, Charlie Smith. It was a ton of fun! See my posts on herps, fish, mammals, and more here.

1. Colorado-Wyoming-AOU Trip! 55 bird lifers and 11 herp lifers in 8 days!

The series of 10 posts begins here. Photo-heavy and lots of fun!


  1. All wonderful moments and great flashbacks on so many of those post!

  2. Nice. Hope your 08 is just as good!