Tuesday, December 20, 2011


     Dec. 18 was the appointed day for the Christmas Bird Count(CBC) in my area. Out of the last 42 years I have missed the CBC maybe five times. It's a high light of the year for me.

     I have done the same area for about 35 years. I know about what I'll find every year. So why do the same area? It's the surprises you get when you see something different.  The last two years have been dismal as far as the species I've found and the number of birds counted. Last year was bitterly cold. This year we had an overnight snow fall and the birds weren't moving. Five species I expected to count, I didn't see. Ordinarily we see blue jays, white breasted nuthatches, pigeons and  red breasted nuthatches every day. Usually I would see hairy woodpeckers and pileated woodpeckers but not Dec. 18. 

   The area I count is a fairly wide ravine with a variety of habitat. There can be old growth spruce,poplar willow and a variety of shrubs. It was used as pasture land until about 25 years ago. It has a wide variety of excellent habitat.
Large old growth spruce

      Our day was mild and calm. It was pleasant to be outside all day. In the evening we had a great potluck supper.
Mixed poplar and spruce

     What was unusual on Dec. 18 was the number of little difficulties I encountered. I slipped on the side of a ravine and fell a few feet down the side. I got out and found my pant pretty muddy. Ten minutes later when I wanted to record some birds I found that my recording card was gone. So guess what? I lost it when I fell. Later I wanted to use my field glasses and hurriedly went into my back pack. The field glasses were not here. I was sure I had put them in but thought I left them by my back door. A little while later I wanted to record an bird and found that I had lost my pencil. So the comedy of errors is piling up.

     I got home and no the field glasses were not in the doorway. I checked the computer room and bedroom...nothing! I rechecked everything again...nothing! So I was ready to drive back to where I fell. So one more look in the back pack. There they were. Had gone in the wrong pouch in my excitement to see the bird. Of course I caught it from the clothes washer person for getting my pants muddy. 

     So if the birds don't make your day, being a bumbling idiot will make for some excitement.


  1. I think it's wonderful that you are in on the bird count. I know lots of people here who never miss it, either. I don't know the difference between the birds, so I'm pretty useless as a counter. One day, though! :-)

  2. What a series of events.. but hardly a bumbling idiot. Some days are just like that. I hope next CBC is much better.

  3. I've always wanted to get in on the CBC but I don't even know if they do one around here. All I saw today were 13 magpies, 1 great horned owl and a handful of sparrows.

  4. Incredible that birds still are in your area! Why haven't they flown to warmer climes?
    After reading your post, I went onto my "VERY" small balcony to see what I could see.
    List: Two crows or what you might call ravens? They live in colonies - this colony must have about 20 members. They start on Beethoven's 5th at 3.00am! Delightful - I think not!
    Two top-knotted pigeons being very "lovey-dovey" -crows don't scare them.
    A few of the horrible Indian Mynas which have managed to kill all the small bird life in this area. The last thing ( birds) you would want to see in Alberta!
    And I didn't lose my binoculars!!!!
    Couldn't help that or fall into mud, yep I bet the "better half" had something to say.
    PS: The storm still ( e-mail with photos) has gone over, but it will be back!

  5. At least you didn't break anything in the fall! i didn't know that there were two kinds of Nuthatches..I will have to look at ours closer. We call them Assups:) We don't have many birds..because there isn't much snow..so they must be feeding on seeds and berries yet. We have our usual Nuthatches, Chickadees and a Downy Woodpecker or two. I am seeing a number of Hawks out and about hunting in the fields:)

  6. I love self-depracating humour! You're a hoot.
    Thing is next year has to be better. Or it could be worse!

    I know what you mean about such disasters. I have looked twice for things like this, only to find them.

    Knowing our granddaughter was visiting, I lifted a few treasures (babyproofing as in the old days!) and thought she'd disappeared with them, forgetting I'd put them away. sigh. Life is a hoot!

    Cheers from Cottage Country!

  7. Never hurts to look again...

    Haven't done a bird count...can't seem to identify them...bought a book with a recording of different bird calls; it's been fun to listen too, but never have it with me when I hear the birds...