Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful ..."

OK, well not exactly frightful. I know this photo doesn't look too bad, but that's because you can't feel the temperatures dropping by the hour, nor can you feel (or HEAR!) the wind whipping around my yard. Trust me, it is bitter cold out there, and promising to get worse. I have only been out long enough to feed and water the horses, fill the bird feeders, and set up the heated birdbath.

Because I am a fair-weather birder (Yes, I confess - I don't like to bird when it is too hot, too cold or too wet) I canceled my plans for my annual New Year's Day "birdathon." I started this tradition last year - can something be a tradition if you have only done it one year in a row? - when I spent all day driving around my local birding hot spots. I totalled 43 species that year, including all 7 of Ohio's winter woodpecker species (Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Pileated, Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker), my second ever 7-woodpecker day.

There is a Dark-eyed Junco and a House Finch
in this maple tree.
There were more birds, but most flew away
in the time it took my camera to capture this image.

Today, I am birding from the window, watching my feeders and occasionally chasing away starlings. I'll update my daily total later, but so far, it is rather slow. I have had a real dearth of sparrow species so far this winter, but I hoping the numbers will pick up.

. . .

"... but the fire is so delightful."

Is there anything better than a crackling fire on a blustery day? My pets agree, and I usually have to chase one or more of them out of the way when I want to tend it. Today, because I want to take pictures, everyone is avoiding me as I stake out the hearth. I had to pose Holly here and put her on a "Down-Stay" to get this shot.

Here is a series from last winter of Dixie and Tugger enjoying the fire (and each other):

Edit: 8:30pm

Trip List for today, birds seen in my yard

Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
European Starling
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Song Sparrow
House Sparrow


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Aaaww.wwwwh. Aren't they sweet.

Kathy said...

Nice pictures of your cats and dog! Yesterday it was 6 degrees F when I refilled the feeders and heated water bowl for the birds. The dogs and I came back inside as quickly as possible. At least we don't have wind, which makes the cold temperatures easier to bear.

holly said...

If you had gone out-how many birds/species could you expect to see on a cold, windy, wet day like this? (curiosity and consolation led me to ask this).

KatDoc said...


Cold isn't too bad for birding, especially if there is a front coming through, as many birds will be active, feeding in preparation for an upcoming storm. Windy will keep a lot of birds down low or hidden in the bushes, and wet is probably the worst bird weather.

I suppose if I had gone out and worked it, I could have had 35 species easily. A better birder than I might have gotten 60 or more. As it is, I was content with birding out the window. I'm off on Thursday; maybe I will go out then.


shila said...

Happy New Year Katdoc! My first bird was a huge flock of starlings, bah. Cardinal came in second. Have a very birdy 2008.

Mary said...

If I see the Starlings, I give them a minute or so then swing open the door and stomp my feet. I'm mean.

We have a wind from the north knocking the heck out of us today. Our temps will dip to the teens tonight which isn't too bad in comparison, I guess.

Your menagerie of pets are wonderful. What great pals! Your pup does a down-stay, huh? I had a Cocker Spaniel who was good like that but she was also a little crazy.

Happy New Year!

Susan Gets Native said...

You big sissy.
(I'm one to talk...I can't get up before 7 am for a birding trip.)

No raptors on your yard list? I disapprove.
Got to see the short-eared owl at Armleder today! Huzzah!

KGMom said...

Looks like you did pretty well, even without going on your "annual" birding trip!