The winter landscape was gorgeous.
And the warm weather meant that the lakes and streams weren't frozen over, so we saw lots of water birds. I counted over a thousand mallards.
I had a spotting scope so I could check each one. I found a couple mergansers and a couple green-winged teals hanging out with the mallards. Some mallards were floating out in the middle of the lake, but most were eating along the shoreline.
Another bird I had to test my counting skills with were the European starlings. There were hundreds, sometimes in huge flocks. Even though they are non-native so they aren't a bird I particularly like, I still marvel how they fly together and can change direction so quickly.
Christmas Bird Counts are still continuing in various locations until January 5. They are a lot of fun and a great way to learn about an area. I might do two more.
Since we're talking about birds, let's segue into Backyard Birds. Did you take my Backyard Bird Challenge? The challenge was to keep track of what birds you saw in your backyard throughout the year.
We did really well starting the challenge, but slowed down in May as my schedule got busier. I realized that we didn't spend as much time in the backyard as I had thought! We did keep a list, though, and here's the front page:
But I needed a neat and tidy list, so I typed one up and put in boxes so we could check what months we were seeing what birds. It was a great idea, but by the end of summer we couldn't keep up.
So will we do the Backyard Bird Challenge in 2015? You betcha. And now we have a goal to beat: we saw 34 different bird species in our backyard in 2014. I'm sure we can do better in 2015. And hopefully with the kids getting older and being able to take more responsibility, we'll count for more of the year!