Monday, December 15, 2008

'08 Christmas Bird Count

This past Sunday I once again participated in the Burlington Vermont Christmas Bird Count, an annual event run by the Audubon Society. I've been doing the count with a few friends for about 15 years, and from the beginning we've been responsible for covering the Burlington waterfront along Lake Champlain. This year was made a little more challenging than usual with strong winds off the lake out of the southwest blowing directly into our faces (and binoculars) . Fortunately the temps were relatively mild, around mid 20's F, so even with the wind chill it was bearable.

The first bird of the day was an immature Snowy Owl. A great way to start your day. Other raptor highlights were a light morph Rough Legged Hawk, a Sharp Shinned Hawk, and 2 Bald Eagles. We saw a total of 40 species and counted well over 1000 individual birds in our sector. The total species count for the count circle was 71, which was 2 species off the record of 73, set in 2006.

I couldn't take any decent photos, so while I was browsing for images, I remembered these smokes. Heed the Surgeon General Warning!

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