Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: The Year in Review

Merry Christmas!

It's been another great year.  The more time I spend outdoors, the more connected I feel with the seasons and cycles of nature.  I hiked a lot, in all kinds of weather and revelled (albeit quietly) in the beauty and wonder that is the great outdoors!  [Click on any photo to enlarge it.]





Here's a little recap of Things with Wings in 2013:

787 Posts (450 from 2012) with 31,763 views and 27 comments from readers

Most Popular Post in 2013:  Birding Along Sudbury Reservoir Trail

Most Popular Post Since I Started:  Massachusetts State Bird (828 views)

Butterflies:  63 species (up from 52 in 2012); 17 of them were new "life" butterflies!!!

Biggest Scare:   I was hiking alone on Horn Mountain, the temperature was in the 90s, and I had crouched down to photograph a butterfly.  When I stood up again, I nearly blacked out.  I didn't think it would be good to faint with no one around to help me!

Birds:  180 species of birds (up from 124 in 2012); 64 of them were new "life" birds!!!  I still have a long way to go still in learning how to properly identify birds, but more and more are becoming familiar to me.

Memberships:  Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts Audubon Society, New England Wildflower Society/Garden in the Woods, Forbush Bird Club, North American Butterfly Association (local chapter is Massachusetts Butterfly Club), and Fine Art America.

Insects:  2 embedded tick bites

# New Places I Visited in Massachusetts: 24

Field Trips:  7 trips with the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, 4 with the Forbush Bird Club, and one four-hour winter pelagic boat trip (my first ever).  I also made four visits to bird banding stations and held my first bird, an American Robin, when it was ready to be released.

I photographed a lot of birds "in action", and once again, I am categorizing them here just for fun!






Some of the irruptive bird species I saw in 2012 carried over into 2013:

Common Redpolls (January in Hopkinton and March at my feeder)

White-Winged Crossbills (January in Southboro)

Red-Breasted Nuthatches (May in Hopkinton)

Snowy Owl (December in Newburyport)

I was inspired again this year by the many colors, shapes, sizes and individual beauty of all the flowers I saw.

I enjoyed the local butterflies again, this year, happy to add new species to my life list.  I also seeded milkweed this year, so it will be fun to see whether they grow and if they do, how many more monarchs come to my yard in the future.  We should all plant milkweed!  It is the only plant upon which monarchs will lay their eggs!  They need milkweed to survive!  I also started paying more attention to moths, although I need a lot of help to identify them.

Earliest Butterfly Sighting:  Cabbage White, April 5th, Southboro (Chestnut Hill Farm)

Latest Butterfly Sighting:   Orange Sulphur, November 18th, Framingham (Farm Pond)

Here are my favorite butterfly photographs from 2013.  For some, it is the butterfly itself that makes the photo special to me, rather than the photo.

They were so few and far between this season.  Every single sighting was a treat.

Bronze Copper, a life butterfly

Baltimore Checkerspot, the only one I saw all season and such a beauty!

Viceroy (love the photo)

Frosted Elfin, a life butterfly

Pearl Crescent (love the photo)

Black Swallowtail (love the photo)

Juniper Hairstreak, a life butterfly 

While I'm out looking for butterflies, I invariably stumble across other interesting insects.  I don't call too much attention to them in my blog, but they are pretty fascinating!

There are still more Massachusetts butterflies that I have not yet seen.  Some have a very short time period to find them, and my schedule got in the way.  There are still many, many birds that I have not yet seen.  Sometimes this can be frustrating, especially when I hear reports about rare birds while I am at work....but most of the time, I try to be patient and realize that I can always try again next year.....something to look forward to!

Happy 2nd birthday to Things with Wings, and thanks for sharing my journey!

"Make a friend of nature, and you will never be bored."


  1. What a great collection of photographs. The flower pictures are truly beautiful. I hope that 2014 is equally as productive for you and that you continue to find new "lifers".

    1. Thanks, Nick! Another year is just around the corner!