The port of Burnie, Tasmania - Christmas Eve 2007

The port of Burnie, Tasmania – Christmas Eve day 2007

Yesterday I took a stroll down memory lane, actually I looked for images I have taken either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in my files but in a way that is taking a stroll down memory lane.

In 2007 I was onboard a cruise ship crossing Bass Straight from Melbourne Australia to dock in Burnie, Tasmania. Even though it is summer during Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere Tasmania is far enough south for it to be cool. The water was such a deep royal blue that I wanted to jump ship just to feel it on my skin. I went inland from Burnie on Christmas Eve to visit a rehab facility for animals and birds, many of them were native but a few exotics stuck out, like Water Buffalo, Camels and different types of deer.

I loved seeing Tasmanian Devils, Quolls, Black Swans, Wallaby, Wombat,  Kangaroos and Emus. Ok, maybe not the Emus so much but that was because when I was taking a photo of a Wallaby an Emu snuck up and pecked the UV filter on my lens and scared the snot out of me. Imagine all of a sudden seeing a huge beak and two big eyes through your viewfinder as the beak crashes into the glass!  I am just glad I had the UV filter attached otherwise it would have been expensive glass that got beaked.

After getting back on board ship we headed out to make the crossing to the South Island of New Zealand across the Tasman Sea and spent Christmas Day on the open water.

A foggy Christmas Day 2008

A foggy Christmas Day 2008 – Roseate Spoonbill

Christmas Day of 2007 started off very foggy at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach. Fort De Soto is open on Christmas day which I adored because quite often I would have the north beach to myself. It was a time to soak in the beauty, to relax and reflect on the year that was coming to a close. The friends I had made. The sights I had seen. And the birds of Florida that enchanted me.

The light wasn’t the best when I photographed this Roseate Spoonbill foraging in the tidal lagoon north of the foot bridge but I kept the file any way as a reminder of Christmas all by myself sitting in the waters of the lagoon surrounded by Wood Storks and Roseates.

Snow (sand) Man - Florida Style 2008

Snow (sand) Man – Florida Style 2008

Floridians don’t let the lack of snow stop them from creating the Florida Snowman out of the white sugary sand found at Fort De Soto. This one is decorated with a Sea Urchin on its head, a Mangrove seed pod as a staff and a Leopard Crab as pet. Ingenuity, yes, that is what it is.

Six months after Christmas I made my mind up to leave Florida and move back out west, the west had called to me softly for years while I lived in Florida. The mountains, the big sky, four seasons, snow, fall colors and wide open spaces. After Christmas the western U.S. wasn’t calling to me softly, it was talking long and loud.

A Regal Bald Eagle - Christmas Day 2009

A Regal Bald Eagle – Christmas Day 2009

Christmas of 2009 found me in the state of Utah. I had mountains, 4 seasons, plenty of birds, big skies, deserts, plains, gorges, marshes, lakes, rivers, valleys and plenty of Red Rocks. AND I had the Great Salt Lake close by!

I made new friends and felt a wonderful peace wash over me. I was back where I belong. In the west. Because of my photography I have met the most fascinating people in real life and those who have become friends over the internet that share my interests in nature, birds and photography.

Christmas Day 2009 started foggy at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in Davis County, Utah. The sun wouldn’t give up though and it broke through the fog to allow me to get close up images of a majestic 4-year-old Bald Eagle perched on an old post.

Spending time with a best friend in nature is the best Christmas present to me.

Common Merganser - Chrsitmas day 2010

Common Merganser – Christmas day 2010

Christmas Day of 2010 came and it was spent again at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area photographing Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Ducks and this Common Merganser. The water looked golden because the dried stalks of Phragmites were reflected on it. We pretty much had the place to ourselves for the first few hours. Yes, that is Peace on Earth to me.

Male Northern Harrier in flight - Christmas Eve 2011Male Northern Harrier in flight – Christmas Eve day 2011

Christmas Eve day of 2011 was spent on Antelope Island State Park  and while the island wasn’t all that birdy or critter the causeway had some Northern Harrier action going on as we went to leave. The “Gray Ghost” was hunting near the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake with the snow-covered Wasatch Mountain Range in the background.

What will Christmas Day 2012 bring? I don’t know for sure but it is going to be a white one and I’ll be spending time in nature enjoying the companionship of a best friend. I can’t ask for a better gift. So while other people are just starting their day and opening their presents I’ll already be enjoying mine.