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BY6: Of Happiness January 31, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Late Sunday morning, the thermometer proclaimed a temperature on the high side for January, but the wind was up and the air felt damp. Despite my shivering and lazy reluctance, I thought I should go out. I wanted to add another bird to my list, and that wasn’t likely to happen if I stayed inside.

Tim was already out, cutting back some plants, and Martha was talking gardening with him. We three made a plan for a walk on the rail trail. I layered up, starting with long undies. Tim and I grabbed binoculars.

I wanted to see a bluebird.

Suckers have been eluding me all month. I swear many have dashed in front of my car, too quickly for me to solidly ID (or hit).

We were a good half hour out when I thought that maybe I spotted one, way way out there on that fence post on the other side of that field.

The bird would flash its red breast, but when it turned, I couldn’t really tell if its back was blue or black. Of course, it was acting like a bluebird.

Tim declared it positively a bluebird. His binoculars are better than mine. Likely his eyes are too.

We hiked the farm road in a bit to see if we could get a closer look. We’d walk, stop, look. I was getting windchilled, my hands numb.

But eventually, we got close enough, and there were three hanging out together, just like us. One of them posed on a tree branch, giving us a fantastic look. At last.

Then, hiking back, Martha pointed to a tree and asked, “Is that a dove?” It was a flicker—my first of the year.


This brings my count, here at month’s end, to 23: red-breasted nuthatch (21), eastern bluebird (22), northern flicker (23). And so it slowly goes.


1. Mali - January 31, 2012

Nuthatch. What a crazy name for a bird! It’s cute though. So’s a northern flicker. I googled them.

I quite loved the idea of your walk in the wintry countryside. Of course, I wasn’t the one getting wind-chilled.

2. Helen - February 2, 2012

I’m truly happy for you.

3. Dona - February 3, 2012

Good for you IB! Glad you saw your bluebird at last. I had the opportunity to help maintain the bluebird houses at NIH several years ago (pre 9-11) but declined the offer. Maybe I will do it if they ever ask again.

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