Reviewing 2011

The traditional way for a blog to mark the end of the year appears to be a round-up of the year’s best or most popular posts. I didn’t do this last year (I had to check my archives – couldn’t remember if I did or not) but here are some highlights from Rebecca in the Woods in 2011. Not necessarily the most-viewed posts, but rather my favorites.

In January I wrote about resurrection ferns, epiphytic ferns that grew on the live oaks that were common on the Georgia barrier island I lived on prior to moving to Wisconsin. This post contains the photo that now forms the blog’s header.

In February I visited an amazing Nature Conservancy preserve called Moody Forest, where I saw longleaf pines, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and gopher tortoise burrows.

In March, in addition to celebrating the blog’s one-year anniversary, I had my first close encounter with a venomous snake – a sleepy cottonmouth.

In April we had an outbreak of crazy-looking fir tussock moth caterpillars, leading to the blog’s single most-viewed post ever. (Scroll down to the trackbacks on that post to find links to its two sequels, featuring the caterpillar’s transformation into a cocoon and then a moth.)

In May I wrote a pretty epic post about antlions, complete with a video clip I took of an ant getting sucked underground and eaten.

In June, before leaving Jekyll Island, I was lucky enough to come across a mother loggerhead sea turtle on the beach late at night. No photos of the turtle herself (flash photography of sea turtles is frowned upon), but plenty of photos of turtle crawls in the dunes.

In July, after a fun road trip to visit several western national parks, I started out for Wisconsin and found a beautiful Polyphemus moth in an unexpected place.

In August, while visiting the shore of Lake Superior for the first time, I was lucky enough to come across a newly-emerged dragonfly that I identified as an Eastern Least Clubtail, still clinging to a rock next to its cast-off nymph exoskeleton while its new wings dried.

In September I celebrated International Rock Flipping Day by cheating and finding a salamander under a log.

In October, enjoying fall colors for the first time in several years, I wondered why the leaves change color.

In November the patio outside my apartment was graced by an unexpected visitor: a porcupine.

Finally, before leaving for my holiday break earlier this December I finally got my life Common Redpoll at one of the feeders at work.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading! Here’s to a successful 2012.

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