Monday, January 02, 2012

A Monday holiday

I am sitting here in my rocking chair by the wood stove with a cat in my lap, another one on my shoulders. The third cat tried to get on my lap, but since Frisky takes up most of my lap space that was not possible.

I like it when holidays fall on Sundays, because that means I get the following Monday off work. Whatever observance of the holiday is behind me, and I get a "bonus" day to relax and regroup before getting back into the normal routine.

A week ago I spent my Monday holiday doing what has become a tradition for me: the Pine County Christmas Bird Count. It was the warmest count day ever, with temperatures in the 40's, and with the lack of snow it felt more like late October than the day after Christmas. There were also strong winds, which made birding more challenging. Nonetheless, my group came up with 24 species, including a rare treat for this area: a golden eagle! Bald eagles are fairly common around here, even throughout the winter now, but I had never positively identified a golden eagle in this area. Even the expert birders I was with had to consult their field guides, and they ended up having a lengthy discussion about what features distinguished it from a dark morph rough legged hawk. In the end the wind helped them make the distinction. Since a golden eagle is considerably heavier than a rough legged hawk, its flight is less buoyant. A rough legged hawk would have hovered more and soared more lightly in the wind. It was a good learning experience for me: good birders never assume anything and consider all the details.

This Monday holiday will be a bit more home-based. I will finish cutting up the turkey we had last night, maybe making a soup from the leftovers. Maybe I will finally make the time to play music, like I keep telling myself I will. At least I've already blogged, which is more than I can say for most days last year!


webb said...

Hi Deb, sounds like a lovely way to spend the day. Around here a weird thing has happened - the schools reopened today, but most adults (not retail, at least) have the day off. I think a lot of parents are rattling around wondering what to do with a childless day off!

Congrats on the eagle - always a thrill to see one, no matter what kind. Hope 2012 is filled with new treasures for you and your family.

Pablo said...

I'm enjoying a Monday holiday as well.

Golden eagles are more a bird of the west, aren't they? I suppose I've seen some, but it's not likely I've seen any in Missouri. I have seen what I think are immature bald eagles, and some mature ones as well.

Deb said...

Webb- I'm still not ready to deal with going to work and getting kids to school!

Pablo- They certainly are a more Western bird, and that's what made the sighting all the more wonderful. I had thought I may had seen one in South Dakota in my graduate school days, but I was never quite sure.