Tuesday, January 1, 2013

An Old Christmas Tradition

On Sunday, December 16, I took part in the Christmas Bird Count. In Toronto, the count began in 1900, making it the oldest in Canada. The Audubon Society has the history of this wonderful tradition right here.

It was a very cold and wet day, and I was part of a team of two. My partner was very experienced, so I (very inexperienced) was grateful for her patience and for being allowed to keep a written tally of birds, which made me feel useful. Luckily our patch was the Toronto portlands, AKA my happy hunting ground! For locals, this was the foot of the Leslie Street Spit (a large group did the Spit itself as its a major bird locale), along the Martin Goodman Trail and also Commissioners, to Cherry Beach (yay!).

Of course, there were trees... leafless trees on a rainy day... photographic catnip for me! Most of the day it just drizzled, but at times it was really bucketing down. As I reported in an email to my bird-counting friend later, I had never been truly so cold and wet... but I had a really good time. I was in the moment, I was in my element.

The brief stop off at Tim Horton's for a breakfast sandwich was very, very welcome, as the estimated morning-only count lasted til about 4 p.m.

Photographs below include seeing the CN Tower in the mist from Cherry Beach, droplets of water on just about everything, a Northern Mockingbird, baby trees, and the startlingly beautiful colours that are evident even at this time of year.

A hot shower never felt so good.

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