At least as far as birding was concerned this last year, I have to say it was a helluva year. I realized that sometimes it's easier to find birds if I travel a couple of hours to seek them out. I did a couple of trips to the Adirondacks, one that was a 24+hour round trip. Although I didn't see my main target bird, the Grey Jay, I did see Ruffed Grouse, a Sandhill Crane and saw where all those Blackburnian Warblers go during the summer. My lifer Yellow Headed Blackbird in Broome County deserves mentioning also.
It was a good year for lifer warblers especially Yellow Breasted Chats, Worm Eating Warbler and one of my new favorite birds, the Black Throated Green Warbler.
It was also a good year for birds that a few years ago I wasn't so sure I would ever see such as Bobwhite, Least Bittern (New Jersey) and a Bicknell's Thrush. I also got to see a bird I never knew about before, the Yellow-throated Vireo. After a few failed attempts I found and got great views of another new favorite, the Nelson's Sparrow.
I found 2 Common Gallinules in Massapequa Lake which are uncommon for Nassau County. It was nice finding something on my own - I feel like I've been chasing other birder's reports too much.
There's a lot more stories I could mention but there was one day in July that I can only describe as "EPIC!". I went to Edwin Forsythe Refuge in New Jersey and saw a reported Red Necked Phalarope. I returned the next day with my birding buddy Snouty and although we didn't refind it, we had the best birding day ever. Our first "consolation" prize was a lifer Ruff, followed by nice views of Gull Billed Terns, Whimbrel, Clapper Rails, Caspian Tern, Orchard Oriole and Blue Grosbeak. To end the day, we came face to face with a Prothonotary Warbler and had a Whip Poor Whil almost land on my head.
I had 41 life birds this year so my life list is now up to 331 "countable" birds seen in the continental US and 316 life birds for New York State.