Monday, December 22, 2008
We must be living right
Remember I said the forecast for yesterday's Salida Christmas Bird Count called for a low of -5 F and a high of 14 F?
Imagine everyone's surprise when we got up before 6:00am and found it was 24 F! I checked first online (there's a Weatherbug station at the local middle school*). Didn't believe it. Hit the refresh button three or four times. It still said 24. So I groped around in the dark until I could find the temp gauge for outside the house. It said the same thing!
(*When school isn't in session, the site often defaults to the Monarch Pass station, 3000+' higher than town. Not useful unless you're going skiing.)
Probably people who get to do their CBCs in places like Florida and Texas shake their heads at those of us who are happy for start temps below freezing... but I think this might have been the balmiest start for us, ever. The lowest point of our circle is at about 7000' elevation, and parts of it are probably at about 10,000'. (Methodist Mountain elevation is over 11,000' at the summit, and we have a hearty team who hike the Rainbow Trail across its northern face for the count each year.) Teams in the higher elevations still had cold and wind, but NOT like we expected. Hooray!
In all it was a good day. I haven't run the numbers yet, but it looks like we had 74 (*nope, 77!) species, which is typical for our count. A couple of interesting birds new to the count: Lewis' woodpecker and two species of Rosy-finch. Finally! We knew the little buggers had to be here somewhere! My dear friend Tony found them and got some pics... hopefully I'll get him to send copies. In the meantime, a nice Lewis' woodpecker shot by Randy Hancock....
Many thanks to our local Division of Wildlife office, which sponsors lunch for our counters and whose officers participate in the count (often driving volunteers into hard-to-access areas of our forest-ridden count circle).