According to this week's Gazette Journal, there was an Audubon Christmas Bird Count for Mathews and Gloucester Counties last Sunday. Since 1969 this annual event, which relies on volunteers to count and record various species of bird, tracks the data as an indicator of the state of the environment.
The article explains that the bitterly cold weather impacted the overall results, because the birds were more focused on
The results included:
141 tundra swan (lower than normal)
228 mallards (up from last year)
845 bufflehead (fewer than last year. Bufflehead?)*
24 bald eagles
614 Eastern bluebirds
1 Baltimore oriole (who was looking for the rest of his teammates)
4 semipalmated plovers (Semipalmated? Is that like partially hydrogenated?)
100 rusty blackbirds (There were only 3 oily blackbirds.)
995 Canada Geese (Yes, 995, no lie, and approximately 992 were spotted in my mother's back yard, pictured above, where she maintains a wildlife preserve which offers a daily buffet of cracked corn which is sometimes hand-fed.)
1 partridge in a pear tree (The same as last Christmas.)
The Audubon Christmas Bird Counters missed one particularly evil bird:
Just look at him hissing and spitting. This is how he says hello when he's penned up. When he's
Click here for more background on this beast who not only rules the roost next door but also has his own Facebook fan club.
*A Bufflehead is one of those little diving ducks that never existed around here when I was a kid but which seem to have taken over the creek, which used to be dominated by mallards.
As a side note, yesterday when I went next door to snap this photo of Gustav, it was about 25 degrees outside. My mother was out in the duck pen wearing her bathrobe and white, knee-high, Guinea work boots--which belong to my father.
We carried on a conversation
Because around here, it is.