Bon hiver, mes amis!*
Winter has arrived, temps in the teens, frigid windchill and several inches of snow! Skeins of Canada and Snow Geese trail overhead, and the lakes are almost frozen over. On Snyders’ Lake a flock of waterfowl are crowded into a patch of open water no bigger than an olympic-sized pool. Mother Nature is like the summer people, locking up the cabin for the season.
All the usual winter suspects are at the feeders. Kept hearing tantalizing reports of the rarer snowbirds — redpolls, grosbeaks — showing up in the area, but nothing by me. Until this morning! As I drove past my neighbor’s farm, I saw a small flock of — pale juncos? Hmmm… I stopped the car (nice living on a country road) and took out my binocs, upon which they promptly flitted off, circling and finally landing behind me. So I focussed on the side mirror and watched them and said, “Hey! Snow Buntings!
And that leads to what I’ve been doing during this bird dry spell. Whenever an interesting bird pops up on the local Unusual Sightings lists, I start studying it. Even if it’s 50 miles away and I have no intention of looking for it, I try to ‘get’ it. After too many years of trying to recognise all the Warblers in three weeks, the smarter thing is to work hard on the 20 or so that can be seen around here, concentrating on habitat as much as appearance. In other words, I gotta study.
New thermal underwear and wool socks wouldn’t hurt, either.
Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove, European Starling, Carolina Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Crow, Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, House Sparrow, Ring-billed Gull, American Coot, Snow Bunting.
25 species, one new life/this list.
*exhausting my knowledge of French.