Friday, January 8, 2010

The Bird Count


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 moving to the Caribbean staying under cover and keeping warm than they were parading around waiting to be counted. Plus, the bird counters were not as likely to get out and wander around, preferring instead to wonder how much it costs to move to sunny Puerto Rico stay in their cars.

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:


Satan Gustav, my mother's killer goose.

Just look at him hissing and spitting. This is how he says hello when he's penned up. When he's out on parole out of his pen, chasing and biting are incorporated into his charming greeting.

Click here for more background on this beast who not only rules the roost next door but also has his own Facebook fan club.
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*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 and I seriously contemplated packing it all up and moving to Grand Cayman, where Guinea boot-wearing mothers are scarce as if wearing a bathrobe and your husband's work boots in 25-degree weather were perfectly normal.

Because around here, it is.


21 comments:

ghostless said...

CBW, you are so right that your mother and I are kindred souls! Had you ever driven up my driveway on the mountain top you would have found me feeding the horses in my nightshirt with my husband's parker over it, bare legs, his socks and an old pair of Ariat muckers that are crushed in the back because I wear them like clogs or slip ons. and a skier's headband for my ears. Not a pretty sight at all in any weather! but my horses love me!

Ann Marie said...

you mean that is not perfectly normal??? shoot I am in trouble.

Mathews Mark said...

Ok no more blogging for me open mouth insert foot

Ann Marie said...

huh?? what foot? Where?? you get your hiney back in here MISTER MATHEWS MARK...

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

ghostless-I wear my robe and sometimes go *barefoot* (even in the cold) to feed the herd of outdoor cats. As my mother said last night when we were discussing this phenomenon, the acorn doesn't fall far from the oak. Or we're all nutty as acorns. Or something like that.

AM-We're all in trouble, I think.

Mathews Mark - what are you talking about? We are waiting on a couple of overdue stories from you.

WE HAVE SNOW! And I have hot coffee. Life is good.

Mrs F with 4 said...

Thank you reminding me, CBW, I need to order my goose ready for Easter! Sorry, Gustav. But you look like a mighty fine beast.... are you available around the beginning of April?

Bubble and Squeak is sadly not as exciting as a Disney movie... it's leftover fried up potatoes and vegetables from the Sunday Roast. Kind of potato-and-veg- cakes. It should always involve cabbage! There now, don't you feel enlightened?

Mathews Mark said...

Ok I am back seem my date from hell reads this blog but thats for another day CBW do you want me to talk to the goose You no I have a thing with creatures. If that does not work I could put and apple in its mouth and a pound of rice up its__________ then 300 in the oven for 3hrs, would work MM

big hair envy said...

As usual, I had some sort of comment prepared. BUT, I HAD to go and read the other comments first.

Now, all I have is BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Is it odd to spend time outdoors in one's bathrobe? I don't have any neighbors, so no one has ever pointed this out to me...

MM - Whoops!!

Caution Flag said...

You are going to soon be given a plaque that reads, "National Treasure," because that's what your blog is. (I did have to look up how to spell plaque because I didn't want to give you a plague.) Okay, now I have to figure out how to make a plaque.

Trisha said...

Hee hee hee! Your side notes are funny - sort of remind me about the wacky things my family does!

Mental P Mama said...

I wear my pj's to the grocery store on a regular basis. And now, I have an urge to see some buffleheads.MM needs to tells us...

Daryl said...

One of the charms of the CBFamily is how normal things are ... no one has a pretentious bone in their body ...

To prove this, my WV is mizednes and we all know everyone should be minding their own mizednes

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Well just so ya'll know since we're putting it out there~at The Little House-it's tee shirts and crocs and some times we wear underloomers!(underloomers more so in the winter months)
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Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I don't think it matters what you wear outside (as long as you wear SOMETHING) as long as nobody but your kin can see you.

MM - must we remind you that it's a small, small town y'all live in?

BTW, I dreamed about ghosts last night, owing entirely to my obsession about how that dining room chair moved.

mathews Mark said...

Meg it move and there was a butt print in the dust and I have been on my own so I know my son is not messin with me. If I was drinkin I could blame it on that but I am stone cold sober maybe that is the problem. This is the third time it has moved.

big hair envy said...

The ghost KNOWS we're talking about her, and she is NOT happy;)

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Hey Big Head, she probably DOES know. My dream was similar - chairs around a table moved position while I had my back turned. I kept putting 'em back and they kept on moving.

ghostless said...

I kept thinking, what if MM's date reads this blog!! I just hope she didn't think the date went well! Ouch!!!
The house my husband grew up in, the ghost left footprints in the dust on the stairs to the attic one night, so if he or she sat in the chair, the dust can be disturbed....as long as they are not throwing the chair at you....no wait...that would be you date from the other night!!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Mrs. F. - Gustav would be FOUL FOWL to eat - he's so mean, he'd be tougher than shoe leather. Bubble and Squeak sounds very tasty. Hope you can come to Blog Fest - maybe you can give us a cooking demo. (I'm serious about Blog Fest.)

mathews mark - I'm sure you could charm that goose - you and my mother would probably be the only ones. Speaking of which my mother would have you roasting on a spit (or wish that you were) if you did anything to her precious Gustav.

BHE-Since you're blood kin, it is not odd, it's expected.

CF-You're very, very kind, but I"m sure what you meant was "natural disaster," but really I'm an unnatural disaster!

Trisha - So glad I can make you laugh, I always say if I can make just one person laugh or smile my day is complete.

MPM-WE'll show you some buffleheads when you're here. Some ducks too.

Daryl-You're very kind but normal is the last word I'd use to talk about this family. Crazy is the new normal, that's what i say.

NNG-Underloomers? Are they anything like interlopers?

Meg-Well, the truth is there are some people who live on this lane who sometimes go out in nothing but a birthday suit. In fact, there's a story about the family next door running around with no clothes on, but let's change the subject before I have to go curl up in a corner and cry.

MM-Saw your mumma in Dollar General today and told her I was going to take her down there to see your house. Maybe she can have a stern word with the ghost.

BHE &Meg- I think she knows too, or at least she knows that Mark is talking about her. Maybe she likes the attention she's getting.

ghostless - Now I see your husband has a story to tell. YOu should get him on here to tell his story or put it on your blog - I bet it's a good one. Where did he grow up?

IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!! No waking up at 5:30 tomorrow. Hallelujah.

ghostless said...

o.k. the story is on my blog. He grew up in Orange County, VA

ro said...

I stumbled upon your blog the other day and found it to be charming. I am married to the son of a Guinea waterman. Your sentence regarding your mother's attire just floored me. I have tears in my eyes!!!!! love ya Ro King