2009 Photos: Birds, Butterflies, Beautyberries, Bullfrogs, Bears and More

It's been a busy year -- little time for pictures -- but I have managed to snap a few. As always, I'm blessed to spend much of my time in places where we get to see a bit of wildlife, and I love sharing it.

(in roughly chronological order)

Minke Whale
Minke Whale
I love whale watching, but it can be frustrating, hoping for an "action shot." The minkes weren't in a jumping mood this day, so this was about all I saw. Nevertheless, I'd never seen a minke before, so that was cool. These are basically 40-foot-long versions of blue whales, and they prospered as the big rorquals (fin whales, blue whales, humpbacks etc) faltered because they were a bit faster and smaller than the other guys. The name "minke" is something of a joke, as apparently there once was a whaler by that name who was an inveterate exaggerator of whale size; he'd bag a 50 foot whale and claim it was 80 feet. Compared to the size of blue whales, then, calling one of these guys "big" was only true in the "Minke" sense.
photo by Mark Minasi