Today was the annual (and 73rd) Christmas Bird Count centred on Hudson, a village to the west of Montreal. CBCs, for those not in the know, are a snapshot of the birds in a 15mile circle that can be compared from year to year and so give a picture of changes in bird populations – very important, especially when the data goes back such a long time.

J and I always survey the same route which takes in woodland, fields, small villages and a vast and cold pice of lowland somewhat akin to the arctic tundra at this time of year … especially today. We started at a temperature of minus 15degC in thick, white fog with all the birds laying low and staying warm – who can blame them – with an eventual rise to a balmy minus 10C and the onset of quite a lot of snow. This was some of the “hardest” birding we have ever done but in the end we teased out representatives of 21 species including my favourite Snow Buntings and a good showing of American Tree Sparrows, Common redpolls, a single Horned Lark, a Northern Shrike and a Rough-legged Hawk amongst others. Great fun.

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A lone and cold bird oberserver

A lone and cold bird oberserver

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Redpolls and a couple of House Sparrows

Redpolls and a couple of House Sparrows

Crab Apples

Crab Apples

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Am Tree Sparrow

Am Tree Sparrow

Snow Buntings

Snow Buntings

Snow Buntings

Snow Buntings

A House Sparrow Bush

A House Sparrow Bush

The after count chicken wings and nachos session

The after count chicken wings and nachos session