Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas Bird Count-Presque Isle

Belated Merry Christmas everyone! After a longer than intended hiatus filled with Christmas hustle and bustle I finally have a chance to sit down and post! I'm sure you can all relate. Last Saturday my friend, Julie, and I headed down to the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Presque Isle State Park. As I was driving to pick up Julie, the dash indicated it was a balmy 17 degrees outside. Don't worry though, I think it hit the toasty 20s by the time our bird counting adventure began:)
This was my first CBC and Julie's as well so we took our cues from our more seasoned counterparts. Participants for the CBC met at the Ranger Station on the park; Julie and I were fortunate to be teamed up with Chuck Snyder, a former Edinboro University professor who had taught ornithology, and our great birding buddy, Joao. Each team was assigned to "count" a designated area of the park so when we got our assignment we loaded in to Chuck's car and headed out into the frigid and icy "wilderness". The trails were carpeted with snow, crusted over with a layer of crunchy ice. This made walking quite cumbersome, not to mention noisy! Things were "slow" on the park. Obviously the birds had more sense then we did! Chuck has been participating in the CBC for many years and he said that this year is one of the lowest tallies he's had, likely do to the inclement weather. We recorded 23 different species of birds in our area with the highlight for me being a group of tagged trumpeter swans. I have e-mailed a swan banding station in Ontario to see if the swans might be from there. We were also fortunate to see a small flock of golden-crowned kinglets. We also observed a large group of 8-10 beautiful red cardinals that were feeding together. I had never seen so many cardinals together before. For a brief history of the Christmas Bird Count, including its grizzly forerunner, click here.

Don, Joao and Julie scope out some waterfowl including scaup, mergansers, mallards, goldeneyes and buffleheads.No fishing today!Birding: NOT for wimps!Joao starts the mid-count tally.The trumpeters take time for a stretch and preen.
Joao, Jerry and Chuck G. (moving at warp speed) check out a field guide.
Pat, Janet and Chuck thaw out and discuss their morning finds.When the clouds cleared the sun shone beautifully through the ice covered trees.It kind of reminded me of one of my favorite Frost poems.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
-- Robert Frost

So, the 2009 CBC is in the books. Not an auspicious start for me, but will I do it again next year? In the "immortal" words of another who got off to a less than auspicious start, "You betcha!"


Leedra said...

Had wondered where you were. But it does seem like all of us have not been at blogging as much as usual.

Love the cardinal.

NCmountainwoman said...

Kudos to all you brave souls who went out in the cold and snow to count birds for all of us. Great photographs.

Kathleen said...

It is good to see you posting again. The trumperters are beautiful.

My gosh it was cold! Well done, you! I would have been one of the wimps.

Bird Girl said...

The swan images are WONDERFUL! I can't believe how close you were able to get them! When I see them they are always in the middle of the lake! guys deserve an award for braving the cold.
By the way...I was not in in western NY when I saw the rough legged - heading toward Corning/Elmira area.
Thanks for your input concerning the hawk!Hope you get to shoot one with your nice lens!

Mary said...

Looks formidable. Birding is not for wimps - you're right! But, to see those beautiful swans and to see the ice-glazed trees must have been wonderful.


Kallen305 said...

Great pictures. The holidays have left me with less time to blog as well. I agree w/ the kudos for getting out there to take those pictures. We birders are hearty souls!

Shellmo said...

Wow - so many great photos! The cardinal and the trumpeters were wonderful to see! A true bird lover goes out in all types of weather - hope you stayed warm!

Jayne said...

Not for wimps indeed! Lovely blog you have here Michele. Thanks for stopping by my Journey Through Grace. :c)

Toni said...

Hi Michele I tagged you for a blog meme. Play along if you want or just let it go. The post about it is on my blog.

Hey where did you get the Bird Festival button on your blog?