Usually I have to keep my blinds closed while I work because so much sun and blue sky come streaming in that I can’t see the computer screen. But these past couple days, I’ve been able to keep the blinds open. Scattered snow showers, snow flurries and misty gray clouds have filled the sky and covered the hills. Cold? Yes. Windy? Yes. But calming. Centering. Sometimes a good storm is just what the doctor ordered.
For the first time I was able to participate in the Christmas bird count in Tehachapi, and I will paste the results here. I don’t consider myself a birder. I don’t even have a life list. But I’ve always enjoyed watching birds and what they do. It’s the beauty of a Western Bluebird on the top branch of a cone-laden pine that takes my breath away, not the check mark on a species list. It’s the Northern Shoveler Ducks swimming in circles like kids playing Ring around the Rosie, the majestic White-tailed Kite gazing at us from its perch in a tree while we gawk. It’s the sun hitting the standing hollow log of a once massive oak, the brisk winter air, and oh yes! the Wilson’s Snipe. I saw real live Snipe (of snipe hunt fame) in a shallow waste water pond by the cemetery. It’s amazing what hangs out in reclaimed waste water.
Shortly after the bird count, my husband, my dog and I drove up to Auburn for Christmas with a quick stop in the Sacramento Valley near Lodi. There at the Woodbridge Ecological Preserve one can see Sandhill Cranes, very cool birds with red heads. We actually never got as far as the Preserve. We just stopped along the road and watched a crane dance and songfest in a farm field. Well worth getting off the freeway for.
Speaking of birds, the movie The Big Year with Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black is funny and wonderful and all about birding. If you like birds, you should watch it.
Here is the bird count and a couple of pictures of the cranes.
December 19, 2012
Total species and numbers
Great Blue Heron-5
Black-crowned night Heron-2
Gr. White-front goose-1
White Tailed Kite-1
Eurasian Collared Dove-21
Dark-eyed Junco-211 Slate-colored Junco-1(subspecies)
Total birds seen -9613