As I was loading music equipment in the rain on New Year's Day it occurred to me that I had not yet seen my first bird of 2007! In years past I'd make special trips to birdy places on January 1 to start the year off with interesting birds. When I lived in Baltimore the destination was often Sandy Hook State Park near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. This spot was good for waterfowl, birds rarely seen from my apartment in my urban neighborhood in Charm City.
When I lived in New York City, it was either Central Park or Jamaica Bay NWR on New year's Day. At the start of 2007, however, there was a great possibility that my first bird of the new year would be European starling, rock pigeon, or house sparrow. This was one instance where the rain helped me.
Julie left the hotel before I did, with the kids and her own load of gear. She called on the cell to say that her first bird was a rock pigeon on a billboard along the highway. Then she told me about a pair of buffleheads on a small backyard pond along that same stretch of road. I knew what I had to do.
Keeping my eyes open just enough to see the road, I drove out of Parkersburg and onto the highway. I knew where the pond was, having seen other waterfowl there in the past. As I drove up to the section of highway I forced myself not to look at anything but the road just in front of the van's hood ornament. I got to the pond and laid my eyes on a gorgeous pair of buffleheads, and then a pair of mallards. So my first bird of 2007 was the bufflehead--a fitting start to a year in which I hope to be less of a bufflehead myself.
BOTB's first ten species of 2007:
- American Crow
- Carolina Chickadee
- Sharp-shinned Hawk
- Rock Pigeon
- Mourning Dove
- Pileated Woodpecker
- European Starling
- American Kestrel
Happy New (Birding) Year!