Firsts of the Year

Looking over the past year, I realize it's been one filled with firsts. My first Humpback Whale sighting, off the coast of Long Beach, Long Island no less, and a testament to our area's cleaner waters.

Humpback Whale   Humpback WhaleHumpback Whale

My first trip as an adult to the Southern Florida Coast which, in spite of the various senior citizen references, I loved and look forward to the next visit (and NOT for an early-bird dinner special!).  It was also the place for my first sightings of new birds -- the long-awaited Purple Gallinule and diminutive Sora -- both at the fantastic Wakadohatchee Wetland.

Purple Gallinule   Sora

My first adult trip to Utah to see family and get in some birding.  What a landscape -- from salt flats to wetlands to mountains -- the views and animals were spectacular.

East of Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats   Park City, Utah chipmunk

Antelope Island State Park, Utah   Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Utah

Logan Canyon, Utah   Antelope Island State Park, Utah

My first intimate encounter with Horseshoe Crabs observing their, um, intimate moments during mating season along Jamaica Bay.

Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crab

My first hurricane and one that destroyed both human and natural life in areas I love.

Arverne Piping Plover Nesting Area

Finally, after long last, my first time to visit with the newly hatched Mallard ducklings at Queens Botanical Garden before they departed with the mother duck to a new location.

Mallard duckling   Mallard duckling

And it was my first sabbatical from this little blog, and hopefully the last.  But no worries -- I'm now rarin' to go!