Last night we enjoyed a fun New Year’s Eve celebration at our house, clocking in at 3AM by the time we went to bed. Temperatures have dipped into the 20s, for the next few days. We even got some snow last night, so the merrymaking was pretty much restricted to indoors. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.
The day after New Year’s Eve has come to mean spending the afternoon at Ann & Dave’s house, playing games with friends and friends-of-friends. It is a very-low-key, come-as-you-are, and bring-your-leftovers-and-libations kind of affair. Some people creep in, looking a little worse for wear after a fun night of celebrating. Other regulars are missing in action. But, eventually, everyone perks up, ends up laughing, telling stories, and making plans for the new year that has just begun.
One of the New Year’s Day games that has become a regular is a home-made version of Jeopardy. The mistress-of-ceremonies for the last several years has been Doray. This year she, again, painstakingly prepared the categories, questions and answers. Very fun!
Yesterday, I participated in the 118th annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for an area around the Pedernales River out in the Texas Hill Country. This was my second time doing it. The first time, last year, was my first real birding experience and I enjoyed it immensely. In the year since, I must admit that I have officially caught the birding bug and have many hiked many miles and logged hundreds of hours seeking out and identifying birds.
So, yesterday, I was a much better birder. And because of that, I enjoyed it more, and saw some new (for me) birds – aka “lifers.” Thankfully, while the collective consensus weather forecast was for downpours all day long, it only rained a bit in the morning, and we were left with just fog and humidity for the rest of the day. We hiked through woods, canyons, river and creek-side trails from about 8AM to 4PM. Our group logged 40-50 species, most of which I was able to spot in my binoculars.
Yes, the birding was nice, but it is just good for my soul to get out and experience places like this…
A damp and foggy overlook above the Pedernales River:
A sparrow-laden native prairie on an uplands section: