Decmber 18 — Christmas bird count

I participated in the Christmas bird count this year once more.  I had the same territory, but a different partner.  Leo has moved away, and I obtained an able substitute in Beth Young.  She’s a retired teacher working part time for our School of Education.  We’ve been acquainted or some time, but I didn’t know her well.  It turns out we have more connections than I would have believed.  She mentioned she was originally from Bardolph, IL.  I said that we had bought the Colchester Chronicle from Don O’Harra, who had run the Bardolph News (which we technically owned as well, but never published).  She said that Don had bought it from her Grandfather in the 1950s.  That was pretty weird. 

Now on to the birds.  We had great weather, as it was only in the 20s and the roads were clear.  I’m not sure we saw the greatest diversity or numbers of birds, but we had some special ones.  We saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers, and Beth had only seen one before in her life.  Overall, it was the day of the raptors.  We saw more hawks than I’d ever seen on one of these counts and even a couple of eagles.

American Kestrel

We saw three of these.  They usually don’t sit still for me.

Northern Harrier

I don’t have too many pics of these either.  This one was out in a field.  I caught it taking off here.

Red-tailed Hawk

These were remarkably abundant.  I got photos of a few of them.  Most are too nervouse to stay put when I stop the car, but this one even let me get out of the car to shoot it.  For a little while anyway.

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