It was afternoon when I arrived under stormy skies. As I got out of my car I saw a Great Egret lifting off on silent wings to fly gracefully away over a distant ridge. Seeing the egret gave me hope that this would be a good day for birding. This time there are few people in the park and I walk around peacefully. The gray light of overcast skies softens the appearance of everything. A light wind rustles the palm fronds with a stronger gust every now and then. Mallards are in abundance, but so are Ring-necked Ducks and American Widgeons. In my grandfather’s old birding book the widgeons are called Bald Pates. I like that name better for it more readily describes that broad white stripe that stretches from their forehead over the top to the back of their necks. It truly looks like the bald head of an old man. In my mind now I think of them as Bald Pates, but I record them by their new names.
Big January: 61. Canvasback, 62. Bewick’s Wren, 63. Brown Creeper, 64. Great Egret, 65. Northern Flicker, 66. Starling,.