Warm Greetings to all on this frigid day/night!

As part of my New Year's Resolution I did NOT bird at all on January 1 and made a half-hearted attempt to go birding today. I began by peeking with one eye at the feeders from time to time throughout the morning. Our Oregon-type Junco is still gracing us with his presence.

Off to town to make the house payment and then finally making it to Otter Slough CA at 11:15 a.m. where most the small, shallow flooded fields/pools were frozen. The larger impoundments had open water - Cypress and Otter Lakes.

A walk along the boardwalk yielded a good number of woodland species of note were a couple high counts (for me) 15 Winter Wrens and 12 Brown Creepers.

At the southeast corner of the premises (county crossroads) a Loggerhead Shrike was perched on the utility wire.

On the south end the Trumpeter Swans (3) made their presence known with a flyover, large circle over ag fields then back into Otter Slough CA.

Over Pool/field 34, I was scanning over the ice looking for open water and ducks when swallow-like flight patterns caught my attention. I instantly thought about terns, but these were too small and too erratic. I continued to watch as the BARN SWALLOW dropped onto the ice and picked up something with its beak (I assumed it was foodstuffs) showing its tail feathers with white dots and forked tail, while the TREE SWALLOW continued to fly nearby. They both drew nearer and nearer until they flew over the road at about 40 feet away from me and then proceeded to fly south over Pools 32 & 33. Now mostly back lit by the sun, I watched them until they were out of sight . . . I was hoping that I might have the opportunity for a photo. No such luck!

Other big numbers at Otter Slough CA included 51 Bald Eagles and 33 Red-tailed Hawks (including a dark-morph).

I left Otter Slough CA with 59 species and headed for Mingo NWR where (along with feeder watch and driving) I picked up about twenty other species for the day. The daily tally was 79 species. Surprisingly, no vultures, Short-eared Owls, Eastern Towhee, no accipiters among several others that are around. I must not have been looking hard enough.

Good New Year Birding All! Stay Warm!

Chris Barrigar


Stoddard Co.

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