Christmas Bird Count

Today was spent – all of it – taking part in the annual CBC for the Hudson area. The route we are assigned to can be seen at http://www.pqspb.org/cbc_hudson.htm – the maps for sector 2 are the ones you want. Supposedly the day was to have been sunny and indded, by the end, it was but the morning was cold driven snow …. not all good for seeing birds which, being sensible creatures, were well hidden and sheltered.

Anyway – the CBCs for those not familiar with them take place all over North America at this time of the year and have done so for the past 106 years, enabling a lot of very useful information about population changes to be amassed.

So – very near the start of the day we managed to tick off a pair of Wild Turkeys on the outskirts of Hudson where they ain’t supposed to be (nice) and they were almost “bird of the day” until we got down to the flat lands around St-Clet where there were several mixed flocks of Snow Buntings and of Horned Larks. These birds qualify for the top ten list of favourites – a real soul satisfying bit of birding. What else? The usual common species of course but also some Tree Sparrows, a nice flock of Junco and successive flights of Canada Geese heading north, about 1200 in total. Don’t they know it’s winter!!

On the way back we detoured into Snowy owl territory hoping to pin down a bird for the start of the Big Year on Monday and failed hopelessly, although we did get a Kestrel which was major compensation ……. on returning home I learned from a friend who had been along the same stretch of road earlier in the day that there were at least two snowies to be seen, and he had photos to prove it. That’s birding – it wouldn’t be fun if it was easy.

A quiet day of no birding tomorrow and then it’s the first of January and 365 days of continuous birding begins – I’m pretty sure who is going to win the contest but I’ll try to keep snapping at his heels. I don’t have a strategy and, believe it or not have other things that detract me, but we shall at least start by seeking out the winter visitors so that they are under my belt in the next few weeks and the regulars can look after themselves. Should be fun.

A good day out being rounded off at the moment with a large glass of good malt whisky.

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