Saturday, December 24, 2011

Birding in New Hampshire

My stay in New Hampshire has been wonderful. There is little that strengthens the body and soul better than relaxing with family in beautiful country. That being said, the winter birds here are troublesome!

Birding in New Hampshire is totally different from birding in Phoenix, and not just because of the snow. Instead of compact and low lying chaparral, the winter birds spend their time in the tall pine, oak, birch, and cedar trees. With it being winter time, bird sightings are much fewer and farther between. I've seen Dark-eyed Juncos, Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Crows, and I was also able to add Golden-Crowned Kinglets and American Tree Sparrows to my list. Getting good pictures is another story, and it's much harder to be patient when it's 20 degrees outside.

Today I went down to the Otter Brook preserve to scout the woody margins. The ponds were all semi-frozen, and it was deathly quiet. The birds would come in little groups, seeming to take turns foraging in the area before moving on, and always wary of the optimistic photographer nearby. There was plenty to see and admire apart from the occasional bird, and I particularly liked how the ice held to the grass at the water's edge. It was like nice, shiny, frozen snot. Marvelous!

As one might expect, the Dark-Eyed Juncos were not deterred by the cold. I frequently saw the Oregon-Race Juncos in Texas, so in a way this was a new bird for me. Even though I could only take distant photos, their adorableness knows no boundaries.

I spent most of the time stalking a small group of American Tree Sparrows. The Tree Sparrows are one of the few songbirds that migrate into New England expressly for the winter, and these wary Sparrows seemed right at home in the frozen vegetation.

With a couple more days in Munsonville and Christmas around the corner, I'm hoping to get some better looks and pictures that do these winter specialists justice.

In the mean time, Merry Christmas dear readers. Peace and blessings be with you this holiday season.