Sunday was not as cold as Saturday as the bright sunshine made it much more comfortable. For my final day, I chose to visit Pease Brook Wildlife Management Area, a place I had tried this past fall . The habitat consists of open fields, powerlines lined with cedars, and woods with a very shallow brook running through it. I thought that I would have a chance to find Brown Creeper, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Field Sparrows, Ruby-crowned kinglet and Eastern Towhee at this location.
I decided this was the place I was going to end my Big January whether I found the birds I was looking for or not. I was going to cover this area thoroughly and enjoy a beautiful winter morning observing birds and nature. I was tired of driving around the state all month so this was where I would was going to finish.
I searched the cedars near the powerline carefully and caught a glimpse of a kinglet on one. If this was a Ruby-crowned kinglet on the branch, it would be a new January species for me. I raised the binoculars to my eyes and what I saw was--fog! My binocular lenses completely fogged up at the wrong time. The kinglet had moved on to another area but I think it was a golden anyway.
After I missed the kinglet, I found a Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers near the top of a tree and shortly after that a Brown Creeper at the base of a tree. This brought my total to 101 which was one more than my 2008 January total. Earlier in the month I had higher expectations but on the last day of January I was quite pleased to reach 101.
I kept on birding for a while after that. It was fun having the whole place to myself. There was no sign of any human footprints in the snow. I watched as chickadees, goldfinches, and bluebirds took turns sipping water from a stream. Big January was a great way to make the month pass by more quickly but it was a relief to be finished. Now I can go back to watching birds for the simple reason that I like to.
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The list: Brant, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Wild Turkey, Red-throated Loon, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Monk Parakeet, Great Horned Owl, Belted kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, House Finch, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.