Friday, December 15, 2006

Early Mountain Sunrise

I was ridiculously thrilled this morning to see a crow. I left for work a few minutes later than usual, just at sunrise. As a result, the early morning birdlife was already starting to move around. And that's when I saw the crow, a large and well-fed looking bird, pulling at something along the edge of the road. It startled and flew as soon as I neared. When I'm excited to see a crow, that's a sure sign I'm feeling very bird-deprived by the late sunrises and early sunsets.

The weather has warmed up this week, giving this area day after day of near-record warm temperatures. It's thoroughly unlike December and thoroughly unappreciated by me. Yesterday it was 58 degrees, for heaven's sake. I think it's fooling the birds, too. This morning I heard a cardinal singing. I've heard cardinals sing on warm days in February, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've heard one singing in December.

I've been going over my bird list from 2006. I tracked it a little differently this year than I usually do. As a result, I'm seeing my results in new ways. I'm noticing that it's not just the number of species that falls as the summer residents head for warmer climes. Even the numbers of resident or common species falls as the year progresses. For some reason I hadn't noticed that before.

Anyway, it will soon be time to start a new bird list for the new year, an event that I always look forward to. It's the time of year when even the common starling can be seen for the "first" time. I usually spend at least a few hours on New Years Day birding and trying to see as many "new" species as possible to start my new list. I keep hoping to make 40 species on the first day (not all at the cabin). I've never done it in this area yet, though I've come close. There's always one or two species that I should be able to find that I don't that keeps me from reaching this minor milestone. Perhaps 2007 will be the year. I can always hope.

1 comment:

pablo said...

I spent a few days in Kenya last week, and I saw all sorts of birds that were truly exotic to me. Nairobi was filled with vermillion colored birds that were a common as pigeons are here. I thought briefly about making a list of the new birds I saw there, but I realized that the last thing I needed was another hobby.