Nature calls…

For the past several New Year’s Days in Virginia, I have been up before dawn, swaddling myself in layers of warmth and waterproofing, and heading out to meet fellow birders for the Christmas Bird Count. Our small legion of citizen scientists joined thousands of like-minded volunteers across America and Canada that count every bird they see or they hear in one day. This century old survey has helped scientists study the long term health of bird populations.

I had to break with this beloved tradition this year. We now live in New Hampshire where I am not yet associated with the local groups. I heard from birder friends in Ware Neck VA that the weather was balmy at 65˚ today for the count. I hope the day was enjoyable and the counts were high.

Chilly could describe the 45˚ temperatures in New Hampshire today. No birding this year but it was a good day for the great out of doors and getting in touch with nature. The milder weather attracted a large number of kayakers and spectators to the annual New Year’s Day Merrimack Valley Paddlers River Run, paddling the icy rapids of the Winnipesaukee River. Among those running the rapids was my son-in-law. Filmed by my daughter navigating Zippy’s Final Plunge, this might be called the wet, wild and wonderful way to bond with the natural world. I’m learning a lot about these New Englanders.