Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Bird Count

Richard, Haynes and Greg
Today was the Christmas Bird Count.!

We met at Chris' house at 7:00 a.m. Some of the group had already gone owling and had seen screech owls at Kennard Park. It always sounds so exciting, but I can't get myself up and out by 5:00 a.m. on these dark, freezing cold mornings. Some day, I'll get it together…

After coffee and delicious coffee cake, the birders broke into several groups and covered specific areas. I was in a group with Haynes, Richard and Greg.

Red-tail Hawk
It was only in the 20's but we held out for four hours of birding. We covered Kennard Park, Newton South, Hammond Pond and Houghton Gardens. We had a great time! I won't list all the birds we saw today because most of them were our regulars. However, we did see a nice red-tail hawk at Newton South, huddled in a tree. In fact several of the birds looked awfully cold - all puffed up and hanging out in trees and shrubs.

I would say our most exciting moment was when we arrived at Hammond Pond. I think it was Greg who spotted a blue heron. It turned out there were three of them! We also saw several hooded mergansers looking absolutely spectacular as well as a ring-necked duck and some gulls. We had seen one of the herons fly off and we discovered it later as we walked around the pond. It was looking very chilly on a tree branch. For us humans, the winds across the pond were almost unbearable. The woods were much more tolerable.

Chilly Blue Heron
In the Houghton Gardens area, we were pleased to see two hairy woodpeckers. Deeper in, Haynes pointed out a golden crowned kinglet flitting about and then a brown creeper that we were fortunate enough to have several good sightings of.

As we were leaving, I was happy to see all three herons together. Whether you're a bird or a birder, it's nice to have friends to hang out with on a day as cold as this.

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