I checked the outside temperature as I got up to make coffee this morning and read five degrees. Then, listening to the local news, I heard the forecast of even colder later in the week. I know, it’s winter in Vermont but this is getting a bit old.
And then, I made a big mistake. I thought, “I wonder what we were doing last year, and the year before?” So I checked the archives of this blog and said to Mary, “You know, two years ago this day was the day that we saw that Mama Great Horned Owl at Fontainebleau State Park.” That didn’t exactly make Mary’s morning!
Doing a little further checking, I remembered that three years ago was when I got hooked on birding after being exposed to the many birds of the Gulf Coast. Last year in late February, I was posting a bunch of colorful photos of southern birds we had just seen.
Penny, our Vizsla, was getting antsy for her morning walk so I bundled up, scarf over face, “Hotties” in the leather mittens, and grabbed my binoculars and camera out of the truck. The temperature had dropped a few degrees, as it does in the morning, but the Common Redpolls and Black-capped Chickadees were active at the feeder. I could hear both White-breasted Nuthatches and Red-breasted Nuthatches in the still morning air as we trudged along on our forest path. Not much else was moving — a Hairy Woodpecker, all puffed up because of the cold, was working on a dead White Pine. My binoculars were too cold to even focus and I didn’t even try to use the camera. The sun was trying to peek through the trees as it rose but losing the battle.
I thought I heard a Brown Creeper but never saw any movement. I tried not to think of the dozens of birds I’d be seeing in Texas now, but ….
As we returned to the house, I saw the poor old Airstream, covered with snow, waiting to Spring to come so that we can finish repairs and get her ready for travel again. If I had to bet, I’d say that this experiment, staying in Vermont for the winter, is just that, an experiment. I think that we’ll be well south of here next year at this time.
Meanwhile, my County Big Year is going well in spite of the frigid temperatures. I have 29 birds toward a January goal of 35. Time to warm up the truck, and go looking for some Pine Grosbeaks.