Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Birding: Off to a Great Start!

New Year's Day was gorgeous--clear and blue--although a little chilly with the windchill at about -25. But a day off is a day off and not something to waste, as it's rare these days that I have much sunlight to play with. So I was really looking forward to having the camera (and my birding partner) back and hitting the trails.

Shannon, Brent, Violet and Donovan joined us (I'm secretly creating a birding army) and provided lots of extra sets of eyes to spot the winged ones. Apparently they weren't scared off by their first experience with us.

With the temperature it was, it was pretty quiet on Old Quarry Trail. But eventually we were swarmed by chickadees looking for lunch, and everyone was happy to oblige. Even a red-breasted nuthatch came to eat out of our hands. Violet's mittens were black so the birds couldn't see the seeds very well..she found she had better luck putting the seeds on her head...
We did the entire loop and saw just chickadees, a single nuthatch, three deer and a porcupine. Back by the cars though, I spotted a flash of red and a great black body. Everyone was a little mesmerized by the Pileated, even though we'd all seen them before. This individual was not at all concerned by our presence and really went at the tree, taking massive chunks off. The evidence of his destruction lay all around the base.  Soon after we noticed a brown creeper that reaped rewards from the pileated's work---he hopped around the pile on the ground investigating. Eventually two downy woodpeckers landed on the tree and there was a pileated, a creeper, two downies and then an American crow all on one tree! If I only I could have got a shot of all of them in the same frame.
I headed to yoga in the aft, but had just enough sunlight left to hear out one more time. I hadn't had a chance to look for any of the snowies so I thought we'd have a quick look. Within 15 minutes we'd found two, one really far off and another a little closer, still a little far for a great shot.
We observed for a bit before moving on, and just around the corner a bunch of little birds took off, but resettled and they turned out to be precious little horned larks!

umph. I'm so mad!
I have to say it was a pretty wonderful new year's day. We decided to keep a year list, and it stands at 8 so far. Best of birding in 2014 to all! I can't wait to see what this year has in store :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can understand why the horned larks looked mad...-30 will do that to bird/human alike ;)