‘T’was the day after New Year’s Day

Today, January 2, was gloomy, freezing, icy, wet, and all that goes with it.  We woke up – again- with everything covered with a coat of ice.  Another day of staying in.  Right??  Wrong.  Hey, we’re birders and we always find a way.  We were anxious to get started on our Big Year 2015 list.

After sitting around all morning trying to stay warm, we decided that we could stay warm in the car.  The streets and roads were not in bad shape as long as we stayed off the high-speed loop and avoided icy bridges.

Osprey - note ice-covered branches.

Osprey – note ice-covered branches.

We waited until about 1:15 and decided to wend our way to the local parks around Lake Nasworthy to see what we could from the car.  We didn’t figure that we would see much.  A very light freezing drizzle accompanied us throughout.  The temperature was steady at 34 degrees F.  I kept the windshield wipers on very slow and we drove slowly through the ice-covered environment.

Surprisingly, we did see a good variety of birds, including the Osprey pictured above.  We avoided driving through the soft mushy ground along the fence lines so we didn’t see any of the small kinglets or wrens that may have been there.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

There were several grackles, starlings and meadowlarks on the ground.  In the water there was an abundance of Double-crested and a few Neotropic Cormorants.  Frankly, I was surprised to see the Neotropics here this time of year.

We spooked a Red-tailed Hawk from a tree just above the car.  I failed to see him in time to get a photo.  A few Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets made their way through the gloom.  The lighting was definitely the best for photography, not to mention the mist that I tried to stay from the camera.

We drove through the dampness for about three hours and netted 27 species for the day.  It was actually quite fun.  We were cozy in the car, only opening the windows for closer looks, the closing them again.

So we are off and running for the year.  Now to finish up this post, get some sleep and go again tomorrow morning……after an hour of so to get thing thawed again.

Again, you will be able to follow our Big Year progress by clicking on my Big Year 2015 page above.