Date: 11/21/18 7:30 am
From: DOUGLAS E CHICKERING <dovekie...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] A Sparkling Start to Winter

          It’s Thanksgiving time and the winter, the real winter has arrived. I wasn’t quite ready. Snow accumulation, a bit of shoveling wet snow and a pervasive, discouraging cold. I was not ready for this. It was nearly enough to blanket the spirit and trigger a low-grade discouragement. But in many ways the early start of this winter has an upside as well. It looks as if we are going to have better than average winter birding. I have already seen Snowy Owl and Northern Shrike. There are huge flotillas of both Surf and Black Scoter lounging off shore at Plum Island. The first Razorbills are also out there. Snow Buntings are here and there is even the occasional reliable report of Lapland Longspur. The fall Fox Sparrow has been visiting my modest feeders every morning now for over a week. And now another pleasant surprise.

          This morning not only were the usual feeder birds there in good numbers, but the Fox Sparrow and an American Tree Sparrow were also scuffing through the light snow cover. Then came one of those bright surprises as I had a pair of Evening Grosbeak fly onto the feeder. A gorgeous pair. Male and female brightening up my yard and my morning. Its enough to make one welcome the incoming dark season and touch one with the anticipation of what we will see when we pass Christmas and drop into true winter. When the winter comes too early, we need something like Evening Grosbeaks in the back yard to spark our enthusiasm.

Doug Chickering



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