Jan. 4/05 - Just another beautiful winter's day, but it was a day of "almosts". I arrived at San Malo mud flats just after 9:00 AM and saw Guy walking down the beach. I was tempted to catch him just to wish him a Happy New Year but decided not to bother him. Had I caught him, he would have told me I was parked about 200' from the Snowy Owl that he digiscoped a few minutes earlier. The Snowy would have been a first for me. The second "almost" was when I stopped at Dawson Road on the way home. There was an American Kestral sitting on the fence post by Mann's driveway. I stuck the camera out the window for a quick record shot then carefully jockeyed the car into position for a close-up. Just as I was ready to shoot, a car pulled out of the driveway and off went the Kestral. I'm still looking for a close-up of a Kestral. Aside from the 2 "almosts", it was a splendid day to be out looking for birds.

JUMBALAYA, CRAYFISH PIE - "Happiness is a tasty French Creek crayfish," said the female Red-breasted Merganser as it prepared for lunch. "Where's the hot sauce?"

DROPPING IN - Despite the "No Vacancy" sign, company just kept dropping in at Admiral's Island (at Admiral's Lagoon). I think there was a Dunlin convention there.

NO VACANCY - Everyone loves an island, and it was standing room only as usual on Admiral's Island. (No room for Gilligan!)

FINCH OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR - The yellow variant House Finch is not unususal but, according to Sibley's, more common in the southwest.

DAWSON ROAD SENTINEL - A brightly coloured American Kestral was on duty at the first tree on Dawson Road. Unfortunately, it was flushed before I had a chance for a decent picture.

SECOND SENTINEL - Just further down on Dawson Road was the Redtail Hawk.

Jan. 6/05 - WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES - Jan. 5 was almost a sunny spring day, but on Jan. 6, we woke up to 20 cm of snow. To make matters worse, our power was knocked out by 2 PM that afternoon. Fortunately, living in the country, we had a wood stove. We melted snow for water and cooked on the wood stove. When it got dark, we lit candles and I was able to read and write for 5 hours before I turned in. By the next day there was another 10 cm. of snow and the birds were happy to see me fill the feeders. During the day I entertained myself by keeping a yard list and taking a few pictures: 55 Dark-eyed Juncos, 7 Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 3 Purple Finch, 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 5 Spotted Towhees, I Song Sparrow, 1 Fox Sparrow, 1 Downy Woodpecker, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Northern Flicker, 3 American Robins, 2 Varied Thrush, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 3 Steller Jays, 7 N.W. Crows, and 1 Bald Eagle. After 33 hours we had power again. Our inconvenience was nothing compared to tragedies around the world.

BACKYARD REGULARS - Spotted Towhee are a regular year-round feature in my backyard.

WINTER SNACKING - The Varied Thrush usually stays in the forest but the cold weather and snow brought it out to the feeders.

FUELING UP - The Hairy Woodpecker was one of the 3 types of woodpeckers to visit on this cold, snowy day.

ROOM WITH A VIEW - One of our neighborhood Bald Eagles has the best view from it's penthouse across the street.