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.