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Amazon Kingfisher by Bryan Pfeiffer

The Year in Flight

My 2018 Highlights – from Costa Rica to Maine

December 25, 2018  |  by Bryan Pfeiffer  |  18 comments  | 

In the pantheon of flying things this year, that Green Kingfisher above was good. So was the Bramble Hairstreak below. Even the the waters of Lake Superior lapping at their pastel pebbles — yeah, that was also good (and not even a flying thing).

Bramble Hairstreak (Callophrys dumetorum)

In the year after I nearly died, I still managed to chase nature in the rainforests of Costa Rica and the deserts of California, among big trees in Oregon and on bogs in Minnesota, at mountain summits and in my own backyard here in Vermont.

So if I were now to profess difficulty in choosing highlights from 2018, that would amount to little more than the whinings of a privileged white guy who knows damn well how lucky he is to be alive and rambling in nature.

Even so, two animals did evoke particular joy for me in 2018. Just ask the people with me during those encounters — they would tell you, “Yeah, Bryan really lost it.” So, if anything can beat that Green Kingfisher above, it’s this American Pygmy-Kingfisher pictured below on the right — a five-inch-long bird that gave me a mile of happiness in 2018. Yeah, I lost it.

Same goes for the Sara Orangetip (pictured on the left). Yes, you’ll find plenty of butterflies flashier than orangetips. (Metalmarks, for example.) But no self-respecting lepidopterist can resist orangetips. They’re free spirits, prancing through the world, stopping on whims to take nectar with no regard for the likes of you. Butterflies were big for me in 2018, including some wonderful employment with the gossamer insects in Maine, but none bigger than Sara Orangetip. Yeah, I lost it.

Below the kingfisher and the orangetip, you’ll find two lists of essays and blog posts from 2018: five “highlights” and five “duds.” Finally, below the lists, are the rest of my 2018 images. I suggest you go to full screen on your browser, click any image, then start the slide show for an entire year in flight displayed for you in about 60 seconds.

Happy 2019!

The Year in Flight

  1. Harvey Horner says:

    Thanks for the fantastic pictures. Never been to Costa Rica, but I’ve heard, from my son Mike, that it’s a pretty incredible place. So glad you survived that “bump in the road” last year, and we wish you good health for the next hundred years, and beyond.

  2. Kate Fricker says:

    Thanks for your beautiful photos and comments.

  3. Ann B. Day says:

    Hi Bryan: When I think back 25 years ago tromping around Berlin Pond and netting butterflies in Calais, watching bald eagles eating fish on the ice over on Lake Champlain and looking for warblers on the trails at Highland Lodge compared to where you are now with the photos you take I am astounded and in awe of your talent. You should be ranked with the top photographers in the country!
    But those days of birding with you, Bryan, have a special place in my heart (and I still have boxes of photos I must send to you someday). You continue to inspire me as I write my nature column for the Valley Reporter in the Mad River Valley.

  4. Susan Chickering says:

    These are INCREDIBLE photos, Bryan! Thank you SO much for sharing with us. I an enthralled and someday when I retire, I would love to go on one of your amazing tours ( or maybe before I retire). So lovely and amazing! Happy new Year! Sue

  5. martha Pfeiffer says:

    Sun Bittern in Costa Rica is on my list while there this winter. All the others I’ve been lucky enough to encounter, even the Pygmy Kingfisher, but it was soooo fast, my photo is a big blur! Happy New jYear, Brian!

  6. Ann Creaven says:

    What a great new year gift. Thank you Bryan.

  7. Carol Vassar says:

    beautiful and interesting. Suggests some great trips.

  8. Ruth Stewart says:

    Thank you for sharing the flights of your words and photos, Bryan. May there be many more.

  9. Peter Riley says:

    Great work, Bryan. Glad you’re still among us. Happy New Year with many more discoveries.

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