Brown Creeper for the County Big Year List

As I noted in a blog post in October, I love Brown Creepers.  However, I haven’t seen any since that day in October and while I know they are in our woods, I’ve dipped on them.

They were one of the 35 species on my County target list for January.  They’re tough to spot, being really small and blending in with the tree trunks.  We’ve had a lot of very cold temperatures with wind so their calls may have been masked by the woods noises.   They remained the only bird I hope to see in our woods until today.  It’s been tough birding, temperature aside, with the snowy trail very rough from the times I walked it when the snow was warmer — now it demands attention to the trail, not the trees.  So I know I’ve probably walked right by Brown Creepers.

This afternoon, it was sunny but windy with a wind chill down around zero.  I took the dog out and noted that there were many Chickadees active in the pines — more so than usual.  Then, just several hundred yards from the house, I saw movement on a big white pine tree trunk and Bingo, there’s the little creeper.  I wanted to get a photo (I’m trying to record each of my County birds) so I dropped my mittens, hauled my camera out of the parka, and in doing so lost the bird.  They are tough to see.  Then, I heard it call from another tree and then it flew to the next.  I followed it down into the woods, trying to get it in the camera.  They blend so well and are constantly moving — and my bare hands, already aching from the cold, fumbled with the camera controls.  But I got a couple of shots for the record — and got back to my mittens and their “hotties.”

A Brown Creeper working up the trunk of one of our White Pines. Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 1/100ƒ/5.6ISO 64059.4 mm

A Brown Creeper working up the trunk of one of our White Pines. Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 1/100ƒ/5.6ISO 64059.4 mm

It then took the rest of the walk to thaw out my fingers.  I heard a woodpecker working away and just ahead, this male Hairy was going after an afternoon snack.

A male Hairy Woodpecker  Canon PowerShot SX50 HS  1/160ƒ/6.5ISO 250215 mm

A male Hairy Woodpecker Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 1/160ƒ/6.5ISO 250215 mm

Now, the task is to find a Golden Crown Kinglet. Again, I know we have them and that I’ll see them later in the year but it would be great to spot on before January ends.  They’re small, flitty, and their call is even higher pitched than the Brown Creeper.  So, that’s tomorrow’s target bird.

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