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
As forecast, this morning was bright, cold, and really, really windy. My hike up the hill with Jack wasn’t too bad, though—there was a break in the west wind that helped push us up about the time we descended again.
Wasn’t as windy at the harbor.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 8:45 a.m., I hiked the open trail. (No birds seen or heard on the hill today.)
1. American Crow 2. Herring Gull 3. Rock Pigeon 4. Mallard 5. House Sparrow (v) 6. American Black Duck 7. Common Loon 8. Bufflehead 9. Red-breasted Merganser