2016 the year in review
It never hurts to look behind you before going ahead. How did your 2016 go? Did you lose that 20 lbs, take that vacation? Retire? Achieve your goals you set out to do? I did not achieve most of mine because of health issues. In some ways I wish I could forget the month of March and start over. In other ways it made me appreciate each day and future opportunity even more. I think I am a better photographer as a result. Although I had to cancel several planned trips and workshops I still got some pretty good photos of some birds I had not seen before, shared some more Broward bird life with you and hopefully brightened your day a time or two.
In January I got to meet an acclaimed wildlife trainer and incredible photographer in Mr. William Steele, on a trip to the everglades and captured my first Peregrine Falcon photo. February took me to the Viera Wetlands to see Gus and Greta the Great Blue Herons as they renewed auld acquaintances for a new generation. March again saw the Brown Pelicans on the Broward and then the rest of the month was a blur while I had one of those life changing experiences. Grace brought me thru to springtime and I saw many birds nesting and hatching. My favorite place to see this is the rookery at the Alligator Farm of St. Augustine where Snowy and Great Egrets, Herons, and Roseate Spoonbills breed and raise future generations. I captured a great photo of George the Yellow Crowned Night Heron in the backyard doing his best mating display which was awarded accordingly by the Wildlife Conservation Society. While recovering during the summer months I volunteered to do some bird stewarding / conservation monitoring at a local city park beach. Jacksonville’s Huguenot Beach hosts one of the largest and most successful Royal Tern and Laughing Gull breeding colonies on the east coast. My article and photo called “Under my Wings” on this effort was cited and published again by the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.
The hot summertime of Florida offered only brief morning dock excursions where the local Broward marsh life captured my attention. In July I got to go with acclaimed photographer and guide Ron Bielefeld’s Whistling Wings tours to see the gathering of the Swallow-tailed Kites to begin their migration journey south to Brazil after breeding in Florida. Fall was not complete without a close encounter of the Barred Owl kind. I then challenged myself to bring a more artistic quality to some of my bird photography of Snowy and Great Egrets. The Editor was so pleased they are now hanging on our wall. Right before Christmas I was notified by a world class photography website called "GURUSHOTS", that my photo of George, the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron doing his mating display, was selected fourth among a world-wide collection of only 17 photos for a featured article on Photographing Birds and the technical challenges capturing them in flight. “George” has now achieved world class fame.
I hope and pray you enjoyed Reflections on Broward this past year. I will be taking a few weeks break in January to work on a project for the Editor. I am converting our barn into a “She Shed” retreat for the Editor. No, I am not kicking her out of the house, just giving her a special space of her own where she can go and start doing some writing of her own. Maybe she will be as famous as George someday. Till then, Have a Blessed and Happy New Year.