2010 was filled with some great birds, though perhaps not as many outstanding birds as the past few years (how can I even dare to say such a thing!). Here are my top 10:
1) Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush. I don't think anyone will ever understand how this bird got from Mexico up to the Black Hills of South Dakota, or the miracle of how it was found singing deep within the trees along a small creek there. But I was happy to hear this bird, and catch a glimpse of it with my kids this summer on our way back from Oregon.
2) Northern Wheatear. Since I've chased and missed this species before, it was a great Christmas Eve present to see this bird in Delaware with my kids. ABA lifer #2 for the year.
3) Tufted Puffin. My kids got to see a couple of these guys flying around Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon on our vacation this summer. It's always a good day when you see a puffin.
4) Tufted Duck. I spent fun hour or so watching this bird. I don't get to see too many of these in North America, and it was my first for Pennsylvania.
5) Glossy Ibis. Less than a dozen of these birds have been reported in Utah, so it was fun to find one of these with a flock of White-faced Ibis when I was visiting the inlaws in Cache Valley this summer.
6) Flammulated Owl. Got my best looks ever at these little guys in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah with Bill Fenimore. Super bonus: got to show them to my kids, as well as their cousins and some of my inlaws.
7) Cuervo de los Chontales. A mystery finally solved. Great trip to Mexico.
8) Northern Shrike. Another fun morning, after having missed it once before, spent watching this visitor to my corner of Pennsylvania.
9) Boat-billed Heron. Loved seeing this guy hanging out above a pond in the La Venta museum in Villahermosa, Mexico.
10) Yucatan Jay. Enjoyed seeing these guys in Tucta, Villahermosa. On the edge of their range there, my visit was timed just right to see the only briefly held white juvenile plumage of otherwise black and blue young Yucatan Jays.
An odd foraging behavior for a Vulture
2 hours ago