I've already come up with my best birds of the 2000s, but here's my quick list of my best birds of 2009:
1) Whooper Swan--great to chase this bird in Idaho when I was out doing some consulting on eagles and a transmission line right of way back in February.
2) Aplomado Falcon--stopped by border patrol agents because of my suspicious birding activity right along the Mexico border in New Mexico, but got this beauty and some spectacular scenery.
3) Snail Kite--great to watch this one catch and eat some snails in Florida.
4) Short-tailed Hawk--after missing this one a couple times in Florida and Arizona, finally got it on my North American bird list when one flew low overhead as I pulled up to look for one on the Peace River in Florida.
5) Hawfinch--missed this one in England on my last trip to Europe, so good to see a couple in Germany this April.
6) Allen's Hummingbird--should be on the West Coast, but the one here in Pennsylvania was a treat to see earlier this month.
7) Horned Puffin--we only saw one on our Alaska cruise, but it was great to see floating on the ocean as our Cruise West ship passed through Icy Straight on the way to Glacier Bay.
8) Oahu Amakihi--took several hikes up the mountains near Honolulu, but finally got a good look at a female high up in the native forest above the ecological nightmare that passes for modern Hawaiian countryside.
9) Bristle-thighed Curlew--great to see in Hawaii.
10) Hawaiian Duck--nice to see with Hawaiian Stilts, Moorhens, and Coots.
Nature, red in tooth and claw
6 hours ago