Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Early Birders in the cold and dark get ready for the Christmas Count

Rusty Blackbird - Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik

At 7:00 a.m. yesterday, in the bitter cold [well under 20 degrees] and in the semi-darkness [12 minutes before sunrise] five bundled-up birdwatchers [Alice, Karen, Joyce, Naomi and I] met as usual for the Wednesday morning birdwalk. The Stalwarts. Handwarmers and toewarmers were used by all.

In fact it was a beautiful day, clear blue sky, and a beautiful, puffy sunrise cloud tinged with orange floating upward to the north of the Carlyle shortly after 7. Our star birds were: an Eastern Towhee near Strawberry Fields, several flocks of Cedar Waxwings, and, at 8:45, just before we went to the Boathouse for our well-deserved hot drink, a Rusty Blackbird in the Oven. This would be a nice bird to have on the Christmas Count next Sunday,

[I'll report on that next Week. I'm joining a great team surveying the wild northwest quadrant of the park -- a number of Early Birders, and some heavy hitter-birdwatchers. We hope to come up with some spectacular birds. Sorry, but the competitive spirit is high! Don't forget that the first Christmas Count around the turn of the last century was devised to replace a traditional Christmas Hunt. Though the hunting spirit lives on in the latter-day version of this, at least nobody kills birds in these Audubon sponsored events.]