01 January 2009

And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

As is my custom, I am playing Melissa Etheridge's "2001", because it will be the whole future someday.

Celebrated the first day of 2009 by getting up at 04h25, feeding the cat, performing necessary ablutions, and taking a sequence of buses and streetcars to get myself to the foot of Tommy Thompson park for 08h00. (Note that this is the "sit in a Timmy's and have a leisurely cup of tea before walking the last 300 metres to the place appointed" timing, not the maximal haste version.)

The reason to be at the park at that hour was an OFO bird walk. We were very fortunate in terms of the weather; once the sun came up, things warmed up admirably (from a solid -14 C or so in the dark before dawn), and there was no wind to mention until about noon.

I saw (the "someone saw" list is a good deal longer) mallards, flying; longtail ducks, common mergansers, a starling, common redpolls (dozens and dozens; there was in one place a modest rain of birch seed cases at ground level, as a side effect of the redpoll flock in the top of the tree being voracious), three (of the four discovered) great horned owls, tree sparrows, song sparrows, slate-sided dark-eyed juncos, at least two and possibly three kestrels (I certainly saw three; there's a question of position as to whether two of the sightings were the same bird), juvenile mute swans, lesser scaup, lesser black backed gulls, black duck and a red necked grebe.

The general view was that with four great horned owls there (presumably the numerous rabbit tracks had something to do with that...), no other owl would want to have anything to do with the place lest it become lunch. Not a particularly high species count for the day, though there were white-crowned and white-throated sparrows seen.

I don't recall another time the transitions lenses in my glasses maxed out; I was startled to discover that a number of regularly black things turned red. It was quite disconcerting, and I want to ask my optometrist about it, in a "is it supposed to do that?" way.

A good time, though; I've certainly had six hour walks in the snow I liked a whole lot less. As an auspicious beginning for the year, it will do entirely well.

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