Friday, December 25, 2009

Blue Bird Day

Merry Christmas!

Christmas dawned cold, with a light fog and a tease, if not a promise of sun later in the day.

Mrs. C is away in the mountains of West Virginia celebrating Christmas with her family. This has left Chairman and I to shift for ourselves over the last week. We are pretty good pals, but after a week together I can say with certainty that he is looking forward to her return more than I ... wait, that didn't come out right: I'm sure he's ALMOST as anxious to have her return as I am. At any rate I’ll head up to the AP tomorrow afternoon to pick her up, IF .... the weather gods at Chicago O’Hare (she changes planes there) are kind to us. Last weekend on her way out she got the chance to turn a 1 hour layover into a 2 day rest stop at Dulles in DC. Keep your fingers crossed.

After opening up the last of our presents and then cleaning up the mess, Chairman went back to bed and I played with my new toy, ‘BirdCam’ for a bit. The sun did materialize later so I bundled up like a wool clad Santa’s helper and hopped on the big horse for a spin out South Bank road.

I will dispense with the laborious account of clothing layers except to say that as usual I hit it just about spot on. I could have used a wool beanie. I opted for a PI Sweatband under one Buff. The Buff is a versatile item, but even folded into a triple layer earband it was still not up to the task for mid 30° temps. But it cut the chill enough.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out on the roads. The first part is the best: settling in and rolling out on the big horse is just like putting on your favorite pair of old boots. That fit reminds me that whatever comes, I’m starting off on the right foot. Once I got out of ‘stair climber mode’ and started pedaling circles things felt really good.

I was flying along, almost to the Chehalis river bridge before I realized I had left my helmet behind. Chalk it up to enthusiasm, much more flattering than the ‘old timers’ disease alternative. It didn’t take long to figure out why I was making such effortless progress: The flags were standing out smartly to the west and I knew that my nearly 25Kph outbound average would likely take a hit on the return leg. And so it did.

Things are good along the south bank, I turned around at the buffalo ranch. The buff were all nose to nose in a big circle, butts to the wind munching on what looked to be about two round bales. The bright green of the Alfalfa stood in stark contrast to the dry brown of the pasture grass, the brush along the fence line, and the leafless oaks in the background. A Christmas feast indeed!

Oh and that BirdCam? It was a gift from Mrs C and even though I just strapped it to a fence post I got a few decent pics of the Feast of the Steller’s Jays. It was fun watching them, I can tell that the camera makes noise with each exposure because every 30 seconds they’d all startle and fly up into the nearby oaks. I’ll get better with this as time passes and maybe we’ll get some midnight pics of the band of masked raiders when they come to claw at the suet feeder. The internal memory only holds about a dozen pics, I’ll have to get an SD card.

Hope you had a good Christmas and are ready to put all that bikish gear to good use in the coming months

Joyeux Noël!

When they first came in, there were more than 15 of these raucous visitors flitting back and forth.
PS: Enlarge these photos, you'll see some interesting details. Later pics include Chickadees, Juncos, Mounring doves, more Pine Siskins, and Red-winged Blackbirds, more to come.


  1. Merry Christmas. Lovely pics. We only had two Stellar's Jays today. But saw a couple of eagles and a heron on our Xmas day ride.

  2. Nice!
    Out on SB road I got very close to a pretty large redtail on the ground in a field. I'm sure he was having his Christmas din. When he lifted off he didn't take whatever it was with him, he only drifted up into the upper reaches of the nearest big Doug Fir, no doubt waiting for me to pass buy. Lots of ducks on the small ponds formed in the flooded fields, A couple Coopers or Sharp Shinned hawks ... waiting.

  3. Allen Fricke12/28/09, 2:04 PM

    I was on SB road on Christmas day but the only interesting wildlife I saw was a codfish. It couldn't be left over from a previous flood because it's been too long. When I first saw that this particular codfish had a generator light I thought this fish must be Dr. Codfish and as I passed by and waved I saw that it was. I had the wind at my back and a good spin going so I didn't stop to introduce myself. I rode on to Elma and then up to Mcleary and down to Malone on Mox Chehalis, and then back to Oakville on hwy 12 and Elma Gate rd. I didn't get to see Santa or his reindeer but I got to see Dr. Codfish on his horse. Have a good new years ride.