Well, the Christmas Bird Count was indeed cancelled last weekend, but it was rescheduled for today!
I was up at 4:45 to consider going on the owl walk first but I looked outside and just couldn't get myself up and out into the dark and cold. But I was able to go to the Bird Count at 7:30 a.m. We had a decent turnout and everyone broke into groups.
I ended up in a group with Pete Gilmore and Brian. Our territory was Cold Spring Park, Crystal Lake, City Hall, Bullough's Pond, Newton Cemetery and Newton Center Playground. We spent quite a bit of time trekking around Cold Spring which was fun. Immediately upon our arrival, Pete, who knew exactly where to look, found one of the owls they had seen earlier high up in a pine tree - so I got to see my owl after all. It was a Great Horned owl and it really was GREAT! Absolutely enormous and we got to look at it for a few minutes and then it flew away. We saw many of the winter regulars as well as kinglets, a white throated sparrow and a red bellied woodpecker.
Crystal Lake was pretty well frozen, so we didn't stay long there although we tried again on the way home, but still not much luck. Then on to City Hall where we saw a pair of white throated sparrows, some mallards, chickadees etc. and a Cooper's hawk in a yard across the street from City Hall. Later, when we drove by City Hall again, we saw a large Red-tailed hawk hanging out on the white tower of City Hall.
The Newton Cemetery was pretty quiet. Lots of blue jays, chickadees and house finches.
We explored Bullough's pond as well. Saw a few juncos and some Canadian geese and figured that would be it as the pond was pretty well frozen but as we drove around, Brian spotted a small patch of open water. We got out of the car and were very excited to see the Eurasian Teal that others have seen as well as a hooded merganser hanging out with some mallards! We figure that this has to be the same Eurasian Teal that was seen at Cold Spring Park this spring. Not clear on whether he is still with his female mallard or not, but what a great sight!
Last stop was the Newton Center Playground. We were really trying to get up to 30 species as we already had 28. Finally, Pete spotted a flicker which brought us to 29. Desperately searching for one more species, and having pretty much given up, just as we arrived at the car Pete spotted a pigeon flying overhead. We made it to 30!