Friday, January 04, 2008
Frosty Mountain Morning
My winter morning dawned cold and bright today with 11 degrees. This morning actually feels warmer than yesterday when the temperature was a few degrees warmer but the wind was brutal. I’m much happier with a colder temperature and no wind, thanks very much.
My bird feeders are emptying almost as fast I can fill them or at least that’s how it seems to me. Today’s little titmouse had just visited my feeder and was pausing, with his sunflower seed prize still in beak, before heading back into the woods. I think he saw one of my cats at the window and figured it was best to sit still for a few moments. Soon enough, he realized that a cat on the other side of a window was no threat and flew off.
Here’s my 2008 Roundtop bird list so far. The feeder birds have (f) behind their names:
Downy Woodpecker (f)
Blue Jay (f)
Carolina Chickadee (f)
Black-capped Chickadee (f)
Tufted Titmouse (f)
White-breasted Nuthatch (f)
White-throated Sparrow (f)
Dark-eyed Junco (f)
Northern Cardinal (f)
American Goldfinch (f)
January is a month where the total number of bird species I see at Roundtop typically range between 25-26, so with the 18 I’ve already seen, I can only really expect to find 7-8 more species. Turkey Vulture is still "missing" from my list so far, but I expect to see that this weekend. I did see several last weekend but not "quite" within the confines of Roundtop and my cabin so I didn’t count them.
Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Carolina Wren should also be "gimmee" birds as soon as I’m home in daylight to see them.
Red-tailed Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Northern Mockingbird, Hairy Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker are other January birds I normally have on my bird list. These can sometimes be slightly harder to find. Mockingbirds seem to head off the mountain and down to more protected areas in the coldest days, so I’ve occasionally gone throughout January without seeing one. Of the other four, the Pileated Woodpecker is the most likely to be the least likely sighting. They are always around but sometimes don’t make an appearance when I’m around. Black Vulture, Brown Creeper, and Song Sparrow are other possibilities.
January’s few hours of daylight are my biggest barrier to nudging the list much higher. Bird viewing is limited to the weekend, mostly even to Saturdays as I work a full day on Roundtop on Sundays.