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
Warm day. Fifties (F), seems like (though I forgot to check for sure). Rained early, and I had a dentist appointment, so dog and I didn’t hit the hill until early afternoon. Nothing much up there then, so we also hiked the breakwater.
Plenty of seabirds out. Guillemots, grebe, scoter, eiders, gulls, long-tailed ducks, etc. Spotted a couple sunning seals also.
Odd, perhaps, but winter is my favorite season to hike the breakwater in.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 1:15 a.m., I hiked the open trail.
Some rain early, so dog and I waited until it’d passed to do our daily hike. Windy, but temps up in the 40s. The birds on the hill were shy, however, and since I had my designs on a photo, we took a second hike out to the end of the Rockland Breakwater—where it seems a bunch of other folks had the same idea.
Low tide this time, with a brisk wind and plenty of waves. Was hoping for Purple Sandpipers, saw none, and settled for a few diving ducks—including a good-looking young Surf Scoter.
Supposed to get a lot colder now.
Beech Hill List Beginning at 9:30 a.m., I hiked the open trail.