The year ends with very cold temperatures and snow on the ground, ideal conditions for some bird photography in the backyard today. This young female Red-bellied Woodpecker posed nicely on the trunk of this gnarly Ironwood (American Hop Hornbeam).

Female Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dec 31, 2017, near Durango, Iowa

The weeks before Christmas the weather has been relatively warm and to our surprise we had a female Yellow-rumped Warbler at our bird bath and below the suet feeders. The northern edge of their winter range is normally several hundred miles south from here, but another birder told me that is not totally unusual to see a few here in eastern Iowa if the winter is mild. I was awed when the warbler still came to the bird bath and feeders today despite the fact that the temperature was at -18ºC (0º F) and with a solid snow cover on the ground.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, October 2017

Usually I would end the year with a few “Retrospect” blog posts about my photographic highlights during the year, but some last-minute business trip between Christmas and now kept me from doing it. Maybe I find the time in January… However, I like to thank everybody for stopping here, for your emails and messages with opinions, critique, and advice. I appreciate all of them and would be happy to see you back in 2018!