December 23 – Frozen Potter Marsh

I ventured forth today, with the temperature at home being about -4 degrees at just before noon. The temperature at Potter Marsh, about 8 miles south of home, was a whole 8 degrees higher, at a whopping +4 degrees F! There was no open water at all, which is rare there, the mountains were hidden behind low clouds/fog, and at first there were no birds.

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But then a single Common Raven flew over (not photographed). I walked to the end of the boardwalk and took a picture of the snow-covered eagle nest, but then spotted the two Bald Eagles nearby. At first they sat near each other in a tall tree but after awhile they flew along the woods edge, probably looking for something to eat.

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I did not stay long after seeing the eagles and hurried back to warm up in the car. I did pause on my run back to the car to take a picture of the snow-covered boardwalk that formed a pleasing pattern.

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At home, the birds had all decided they needed to eat madly before it got dark. The Black-billed Magpies spent most of their time on the ground eating mealworms that fell from the feeder, or trying valiantly to perch on the swinging much-too-small mealworm feeder, which is more commonly used by the Steller’s Jays that had to wait their turn when the magpie was there.

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Rarely have I seen a Common Raven land in our yard, but one did this afternoon, carrying some sort of living prey. The magpies were very interested in what the raven had, but the raven managed to eat it all up without letting the magpies have any of its meal.

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A couple of Black-capped and at least one Boreal Chickadee were periodically at the suet feeder out under the birch tree, but never at the same time.

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There were about 20 Common Redpolls, landing on everything, eating everything, including seeds at each feeder and even suet.

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About 3:30 pm the southwestern sky turned gently pink, and the sunset, officially at 3:40, came soon thereafter.

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307 species so far

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