19 December 10
A Little Bit Inclement
Today was the Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count. At four I got up and it was pouring; went back to bed; got up again at 4:30, still the same. We eschewed our tentative plans to go owling and ended up getting to the base of Thompson Canyon at the very tardy hour of 9:15. It was a quagmire.
We ended up seeing really more cows than birds in oak woodland chaparral, which is not where you generally expect to see cows around here. Most of the birds on our list were heard-only. After we threw in the towel with mud up to our knees we went over to the bridge to see if we could see the dipper that’s been hanging around (no luck) but did get to see a spectacular male Barrow’s goldeneye.
Three entirely new species were added to the count list today: great-tailed grackle, evening grosbeak, warbling vireo. Tallymeister Joan Humphrey couldn’t remember a time after about the first 10 years of the count when that many new species were added. And this on a day when many people bailed early because of driving rain (it did clear up a bit in the afternoon but by then many of us had moved on to hot showers or a nap).