35 degrees this morning felt VERY chilly to me. I had my trusty flip gloves on, to keep warm while still allowing for fast binocular adjustment, but I lost feeling in them a few times. I’m already getting soft!
With the cold temperatures, there wasn’t a ton of bird activity, but we found some spots with sun peeking through where the birds were (very smartly) more active. Thankfully for us those spots were also out of the brisk wind. We certainly moved faster when we were in the shade.
We went to Bartram Forest National Wildlife Management Area, a huge forested area near campus. It’s a pine/deciduous mix of tree species I have yet to learn, but of course the deciduous trees were bare. That always makes for easier birding.
There’s also a large pond (as a native Wisconsinite, I can’t call that a lake, it’s much too small) that often has ducks, grebes, and herons, though we didn’t see any today. We did see a group of ducks or grebes that weren’t able to identify though. I’m still kicking myself for ignoring them while trying to identify a pine warbler; I assumed they’d come back and they never did.
We saw a good mix of birds, including some great looks at Eastern Phoebes and Yellow-shafted Flickers, lots of Bluebirds and Goldfinches, and Song Sparrow that I (embarrassingly) mis-identified as a Lincoln’s while in the field. I blame the cold.
We saw 18 species total and a few new ones for the class. The full eBird checklist for the day is here.
Bartram Forest contains miles of hiking and biking trails also. We ended the morning with a short detour through one section of trail. It was fruitless bird-wise, but I always like to hike outside, and to be able to hike outside, without snow pants or snow shoes is still a novelty for me.