Last year was a memorable year full of fun and accomplishments. In March, Lana and I travelled to Arizona to visit Saguaro National Park, Madera Canyon, and Chiracahua National Monument. We struck out on finding a wild coati, but we did see a few new species including collared peccary, round-tailed ground squirrel, and Botta’s pocket gopher. A few weeks later we were back to Arizona to help out with another round of black-footed ferret spotlighting in the Aubrey Valley. In May, we made a trip to northwest Colorado in search of the cliff chimpmunk. After failing twice to photograph cliff chipmunks in 2013, I learned of a good site from a researcher and this time had success. The Franklin’s ground squirrel was the next rodent on the list and we visited Omaha, Nebraska to find these, which also gave us a chance to visit the world renowned Henry Doorly Zoo. In July, we dared the heat of the Mojave desert to radio track desert tortoises outside of Las Vegas. On the way home, we visited the iconic spires of Bryce Canyon National Park and spotted some rare Utah Prairie dogs. We visited beautiful Monterey, California in August and had an incredible time watching sea otters and kayaking with humpback whales. In September, I was thrilled to witness the return of black-footed ferrets to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area near Fort Collins. And finally, last fall I photographed three of the most challenging Colorado mammal species yet – gray fox, western spotted skunk, and ringtail.
At the beginning of 2014 I was courting one of the big name networks for a blogging position and put a bunch of work into my photography website. I didn’t get the job, but as a result I ended up mothballing crittering.com for most of the year. The blog on my photography site uses WordPress, but it is a custom installation and theme. Doing this has advantages in flexibility, but also some downsides. Because of the increase in the proportion of visitors coming to my site on mobile devices, one of the biggest headaches has been ensuring that the theme behaves properly on all shapes and sizes of phones and tablets. Another big issue has been email subscriptions, and the third party options I tried for my custom installation all left something to be desired. Fortunately, WordPress.com hosting makes this easy. Even though I’m fully capable of doing this kind of work, at the end of the day I’d rather spend my free time outdoors instead of styling CSS for the latest iPhone.
Going forward, look for more posts here on Crittering. I apologize to those who missed out on my posts from 2014 – they will remain up on my personal site for awhile. I may import some of them here over time. If you receive posts via email, please bear with me as I get the site back up and running. Hopefully there will be minimal disturbance, but if you find you are getting too many emails use the preferences link in the email footer to reduce the frequency you receive updates.
I am excited for 2015. In continuing on my quest to photograph the mammals of Colorado, I’m currently focused on photographing short-tailed weasels, or ermine, in their white winter coats. Other species on my radar for the coming year are Canada lynx, Virginia opossum, and feral pigs. I hope you’ll continue to follow along.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Thanks, you too!
Nice newsletter, James. You’ve been a busy person.
Wishing you continued success in the New Year, Weldon
Thanks, Weldon. Best wishes in 2015!