Today is the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count. I spent some time between errands this afternoon to get a little birding in with a friend. Fortunately we managed to avoid being out in the worst of the rain showers that fell today (this morning in particular it rained pretty hard for an hour or so). We checked out Starrigavan, True Value, the airport, and the Channel. We didn’t see anything unexpected (in the context of the birds that have been here this winter), though it was nice to catch the Mountain Bluebird, Horned Lark, and American Pipit out at the airport. They’re not always on the side of the runway where they can be observed.
Shortly after sunset (after working on my radio show a bit), I got my sit spot time in. Today’s prompt was to watch for the ‘bungee effect’ for birds that have a preferred zone (ground vs. tree tops, for example), and how they will move away from that then kind of get pulled back towards it. Unfortunately I was too late to see any birds, there was light in the sky (and a break in the clouds) to the west, but unlike the other day when I was out relatively late, the robins had either gone to roost already, or were not in the neighborhood. So it was a quiet sit, but nice to feel the cool air, and catch a whiff of wood smoke from a neighbor’s wood stove (somewhat less aesthetically pleasing was the smell of our compost buckets, but it wasn’t too bad). There was only a slight movement of air that brought the smells to me, and it seemed to be out of the west. However the prevailing winds (quite strong at times) for the day were from the south, and the relatively fast moving clouds that I could see were headed north as darkness fell.