Breathe in the turkey vulture, breath out. Breathe it in once more, savor it aaaaaaand exhale. And I remember all the reasons I love birds.
In all the craziness of the last week of 2013 I forgot that it was quite the year and mostly I have you to thank for it. My third book came out and went into a second printing--which is awesome because there's a photo mistake in it (BLERG) and we got to fix it. So all those first editions are now collector's items--W00t! Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of the book!
OK, not everyone wants to breathe in a turkey vulture so let's have a cleansing yellow-headed blackbird. Feel free to breathe this dude in.
One of my favorite parts of the year was being able to give away my old spotting scope and you guys cracked me up with your terrible photo entries for my Bad Photo Scope Give Away Contest. That was the best, I can't thank all of you enough for having the courage to share those craptastic pictures. My Inbox has never been so much fun before. Speaking of which, there will be another contest later this year...it's going to take a few months to build this one and I still need to hammer out a couple of the details, but it should drop in spring, it will be fun and I think have a level playing field.
The boreal owl is no longer my nemesis bird thanks to bird guide Erik Bruhnke. And thanks to all of you who either helped promote or contributed to my Digiscoping Big Half Year, Sax Zim Bog now has a visitor center! Thank you to everyone who gave what they could either on my behalf or one of the other birders in the contest.
And speaking of my Big Half Year that turned into my Digiscoping Big Year...I have discovered that I'm a TERRIBLE lister, I don't enjoy it. I think the album currently has 226 birds in it but looking at my last few downloads, I think I got past 250 but I should have gotten more. I mean, I had a long-tailed duck in walking distance from my apartment and I didn't chase it. Part of the reason was work and then when the opportunity came up to go for the duck, I had a well spent afternoon with a non birding friend instead. I think I will continue to keep Flickr Albums of birds I digiscope in a year just out of curiosity to see what all I can take but getting the longest list is not the way that I enjoy birds. NOT that there's anything wrong with listing.
Birds and Beers is still going strong and I love hearing from all the people who have them going on their states--I love that the spirit of the idea of birders getting together and being social happens all over. I hope to hear about more in others states...and countries! Thank you to everyone out there brave enough to be the host of one of these gatherings.
Non Birding Bill's previews of his game show You're Making That Up went well. He's still hashing it out, but thank you to everyone who came to them as he and Neil figure out what's next. This has also been a tremendous year that so many friends had great things happen: comedians getting writing gigs, authors getting awards, musicians getting contracts, listers breaking records--seeing my friends be successful after they've worked so hard makes me feel great.
And well, even though Disapproving Rabbits is closing down doesn't mean we can't still have a cleansing bunny over here from time to time. I'm incredibly grateful for this dude. It's not every rabbit that will snooze on your laptop keyboard and I'm grateful to spend time with him.
Thank you all very, very much.