Counting Birdies

“Have you seen any of those white-crested, pot-bellied snowbirds?”  one man asked us in passing.

“Don’t see that one on our list; will have to write a special report,” I responded, chuckling.

We were participating in the Audubon annual Christmas Bird Count.  Armed with mugs of hot coffee and tea, binoculars and cameras, and our guidebooks, groups of us set out to record the birds in designated areas.

Ric and I thought we wouldn’t be able to join in, being newbies and mobility challenged, but the organizers reassured us, so we rode the golf cart and followed our two team mates.  I kept a running track of the birds, while Ric tried to photograph new ones (to us). It was fun, educational, and tiring – I crashed afterwards.

Red-winged blackbirds outnumbered all other species, even the grackles.  Try counting sparrows on the move, or any birds in flight.  We saw a Northern shrike, a pair of King birds flaunting their yellow bellies, and a handful of white-winged doves, among others.

Despite how enjoyable the outing was, I was itching to get my hands on the camera again, so we ventured back over to Estero the next day, where I managed to capture a few images despite the bright sunlight.

The ducks were having a very important meeting:


Then this fellow showed up:


Just for fun, I thought I’d try to create a ‘Monet-esque’ picture:


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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