5 hours, 46 species, 1356 birds
…found in our little section of Talbot County this morning, during the Talbot Bird Club’s Christmas Bird Count. The count is going on all over, of course, and the data we collected will be added to the national count. These are the data that inform how climate change, for instance, is affecting bird and animal species. Cool to be a part of it – and not surprisingly, I was incredibly lucky and met a wonderful gentleman, a great teacher.
I met up with Les Roslund at the top of the Bozman road this morning at 7am – it was dark. He had a clipboard, boots, a hat and a warm smile. We started by listening there, by the side of the road – listening for owls. Our team was responsible for the northern part of the Bozman-Neavitt peninsula, and Les had gained permission to bird on a number of private properties – we also stopped at our place, and counted around this part of Harris Cove.
So of course, we stopped at some terrific properties. The first was a farm on Harris Creek that has perhaps the area’s only collection of Icelandic sheep – they trotted over to say hello. Beautiful animals.
Using a powerful scope that could bring tiny ducks into sight a half mile away, we counted. Or, rather – Les counted, and I recorded. We listened and watched.
He talked about birds, and showed and taught and shared for 5 and a half hours. Les knows birds. At the end of our session, we had counted 1356 birds encompassing 46 different species. That’s a lot! But these numbers are typical for the local bird count.
A gentle and kind teacher, Les gave me a peek into the birding world that I never saw. Sure, I watch the birds at my feeder, and can identify the basic backyard birds that anyone else can. But today I learned a little about how to listen.
My brother-in-law Mont knows birds by their song and call, and will, while walking through the woods, occasionally cock his head and say “eastern peewee” or some such thing. And I wouldn’t have heard a thing at all. Loons and tundra swans of course, but the tiny birdsong high in the trees is something different.
But after today I’ll hear it.
I may not be able to identify it….
but, I will be listening.
Cool. Thanks, Les!