Christmas Bird Count 2018 – Hard, cold work

The CBC this year was very cold (mostly windchill) with virtually no snow and all the birds keeping well down and sheltered and so extraordinarily hard to find and count. As usual, J and I were working CBC Route #2 south of Hudson which takes us through mixed habitats to end down on some very flat lands south of St-Clet where there is no shelter … and very few birds this day. We weren’t getting despondent but we did think was probably the hardest count we have done in the 18 or so years we have surveyed this route and thought the birding gods owed us a little something special. They came up trumps and delivered to us a wheeling flock of some 30 or so Common Redpolls that settled almost at our feet to feed on seeds topping dried plants in a roadside ditch. Magical little things.

This was also the forst year we have seen no European Starlings who are usually doing their thing hanging around farm buildings – talking to others at the post-count get together it seemed we were not alone in this.

We happened upon a group of some 15 or so Wild Turkeys which would have been even nicer if they were not gathered around seed spread in a  field corner for them – almost certainly by a man with a gun who will be trying to shoot them when the hunting season opens on the new year.

A couple of nice, old field barns appealed to us and a survivor of the age of rubber dinosaurs crossed our path