Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What are your nature highlights of 2010?

At the end of the year I love to go back through all the pictures and notes we made during the year. Here are five local nature experiences I had in 2010 that rise to the top - links are to posts on our personal (and very intermittent) photo blog:

  • Snowpocalypse will be memorable for a long time. Especially beautiful were walks we took on the Northwest Branch and on the Billy Goat Trail. It's amazing to see how transformed the world can be.
  • A mixed flock of spring migrants that came to our yard while we happened to be looking out our bedroom window -- including three warbler species we'd never seen in our yard before.
  • In June, we were camping on the Shenandoah River for a friends' wedding and went out canoeing every morning. One day, I saw a catfish flopping around on the surface of the water and realized it was being caught by a mink!
  • At one point this summer, it was so hot that the raccoon that lives in our oak tree came down and went swimming in our little backyard pond -- and we happened to notice.
  • And then we went camping at Jug Bay when the pickerel weed was blooming and covered in hundreds of butterflies.

Beyond DC, we took an amazing trip to Costa Rica last winter. I like to argue that DC has plenty to keep a nature lover entertained for a lifetime, but we don't have monkeys or quetzals. Or warm weather in January. We also went to Colorado to visit family, and I went to Yellowstone this summer, tacked onto a work trip. Both amazing.

What were your natural highlights of the year?