A mostly overcast morning with hints of sun. Breezy, right around freezing. Overall a rather nippy day, but a good hike, with more species than expected. Also met human and dog friends on the hill and hiked together for a time, which was fun.
Still wintry. Back home, in afternoon, a little flock of turkeys ambled through the yard—another sign of the inevitability of spring?
Beech Hill List Beginning at 7:33 a.m., I hiked all trails.
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
A morning similar to yesterday’s—low 20s (F), light winds—but nearly cloudless skies. Had few birds to start, but they started showing up eventually.
Most notable was a Ruffed Grouse we flushed, dog and me, as we ascended the upper wooded trail. But I suspected the blue sky and light wind would mean bluebirds (which it did) and yellow-rumps (also did). Two nuthatch species, chickadees and titmice.
All in all a fun hike with my ol’ dog (and best friend) Captain Jack.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 8:06 a.m., I hiked all trails.