Saturday, January 3, 2015

Favorites Photos from 2014

Well, it's that time of year again.  Time to look back on this year's photos and to relive some of the great experiences that we had.  If it wasn't for Jim Goldstein's great yearly blog project, I might have forgotten to do this post this year.  Take a look at Jim's blog in a few days to see 2014 favorite photos from hundreds of accomplished photographers.

As is the case each year, our favorites are not necessarily the best photos taken during the year.  When we go through our portfolio we relive the moments and tend to pick photos that represent some of our best experiences of the year.

2014 started out with our annual trip to Point Reyes.  The wildlife encounters in Point Reyes are fantastic, but so are the vistas.  This picture was taken from the road leading to the lighthouse:

Point Reyes

One of the main reasons we go to Point Reyes is to find Bobcats.  We have had great luck there and last February's trip was no exception. We had some of our best encounters ever including this cat that we watched for over half an hour at Pierce Point Ranch:

Hunting Bobcat

In May, we ventured across the country to Florida.  One of our stops was at the famous Saint Augustine Alligator Farm.  Their wild bird rookery is well worth a visit if you are in the area and a destination in itself if you are a photographer.  When you first arrive, you literally have amazing photo ops in every direction.  It's a bit overwhelming so you need to slow down and find the best shots.  Here's a Tricolor Heron posing nicely in the early morning light:

Tricolored Heron

Just down the boardwalk a few yards was this Snowy Egret:

Snowy Egret

One of the coolest birds at the rookery is the Roseate Spoonbill.  It's an odd looking bird with its  pink feathers and funky beak.  But, one of our favorites since we first saw one in Costa Rica. Plus, they seemed to be very curious creatures that I swear were staring at me from time to time.  Here is a shot of one coming in for a landing:

Roseate Spoonbill Landing Approach

I can't say that the Wood Stork is a good looking bird, but it sure is a big bird.  Its wing span gets up to 5 feet and it is very graceful to watch as it soars by.  We were lucky enough to get close to a Wood Stork nest where we watched the chicks get fed.  Even at this young age, this chick was able to flip the fish up in the air to turn it around so it could be eaten head first:

Baby Wood Stork Positioning Fish

Our final favorite from the Florida trip is of two Great Egret chicks.  Their half-feathered downy bodies were just too cute to resist:

Great Egret Chicks

In August, we want back to Tucson to hike in the foothills and visit Saguaro National Park.  We love the desert landscape and this part of the country has a great one...especially at the base of the Catalina Mountains:

During our Arizona trip, we took a day trip to Madera Canyon.  We've been there numerous times before but never seen the resident Elegant Trogons.  We got lucky this time when I caught some color out of the corner of my eye and so we were able to finally spot one.  They are nearly invisible in their habitat if you don't look carefully since they tend to sit perfectly still:

Our final favorite shot of the year was hard to pick.  But we knew it had to be a monster one.  We were lucky enough to find three different Gila Monsters during our trip to Tucson which was totally unexpected.  This one was in Saguaro National Park and just wandered across the road in front of us.  It didn't seem bothered by us at all and got a little TOO close for comfort at one point:

That's our list for this year.  We had some great adventures and I am sure that 2015 will provide even more.  Hopefully, next year's adventures will result in some more favorite photos that we can share next year.

Happy New Year to all!

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