Not so chilly, not so breezy, and extremely beautiful skies this morning when dog and I hit the trail—early than in recent days. Seemed like it might prove interest, and it did.
First, when listening to chickadees in the woods to the right, I thought I saw some motion to the left of the trail, but when I looked around, saw nothing. A moment later I spied a Snowshoe Hare bounding away. That rabbit was within twelve feet of me, I bet, and I didn’t see it at all.
Next, toward the summit: bluebirds. Then a high flock of some kind of songbird whose voices I didn’t recognize right away—which (when I looked at my quick, blurry photos) turned out to be Evening Grosbeaks. Then, at the summit proper, more bluebirds and a pair of Snow Buntings. And hanging with both, a solitary Yellow-rumped Warbler. Fun!
A raven in flight over the open fields. The voice of a single robin, and a single woodpecker.
I’d do this day over again, if I could—but even better would be another fun one tomorrow.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 8:02 a.m., I hiked all trails.
1. Black-capped Chickadee** 2. Tufted Titmouse (v) 3. American Crow* 4. Eastern Bluebird 5. Evening Grosbeak 6. Snow Bunting 7. Yellow-rumped Warbler 8. American Goldfinch (v) 9. Common Raven 10. American Robin (v) 11. Downy Woodpecker (v)
12. White-breasted Nuthatch
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere †First-of-year
Today was a special day that only happens once a year: Audubon Christmas Bird Count Day. It’d been four years since I’d participated, and I was really looking forward to it. It did not disappoint.
In fact, among the birds we spotted at the Rockland Breakwater (which I hadn’t walked since Jack’s and my return from Salt Lake City back in April) was a lifer for me: Dunlin. Fact is while heading out across the great granite blocks, I nearly stepped on the bird. (OK, it was maybe eight or ten feet away.) There were a pair that I saw (although my birding pals saw a third). Not every day you get a lifer.
Many other species also (see below), and then I returned home for Jack and right away we hiked Beech Hill—albeit a little later than usual.
Notable at the hill were a posing Brown Creeper and the call of an Evening Grosbeak in overflight. Snow up there (not much here, a mile and a half away).
I kinda like the end of the year but, to me, every day is a holiday.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 10:02 a.m., I hiked all trails.
1. Blue Jay (v) 2. American Crow* (v) 3. Golden-crowned Kinglet (v) 4. Downy Woodpecker** (v) 5. Brown Creeper 6. Evening Grosbeak (v) 7. Black-capped Chickadee** 8. Red-breasted Nuthatch** (v) 9. Northern Flicker 10. Tufted Titmouse (v)
11. Mallard 12. Herring Gull 13. Great Black-backed Gull 14. Ring-billed Gull 15. House Sparrow 16. House Finch 17. Common Goldeneye 18. Common Loon 19. Horned Grebe 20. Long-tailed Duck 21. Black Guillemot 22. Purple Sandpiper 23. Canada Goose 24. American Wigeon 25. Surf Scoter 26. Bufflehead 27. Red-breasted Merganser 28. Dunlin‡ 29. Common Eider 30. Ring-billed Gull
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere †First-of-year ‡Lifer