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Monday, December 20, 2010

Water Ouzel

On Saturday I participated in the Audubon Christmas bird count. This is an annual event where all the local birders spend a day counting and identifying all the local bird species that they can find. And every year it is my job to climb a mountain and find a ptarmigan. So this year at dawn on Saturday I was halfway up the North Sister looking for ptarmigan. It was a beautiful sunrise, but very windy and I did not stop and take a picture. After stumbling around in the snow for quite a while and seeing ptarmigan tracks everywhere I finally found 2 ptarmigan, counted them, and then headed on down the mountain to rejoin my team.

Later in the day I hiked down Pilar Creek looking for birds and found the pictured water ouzel. For the first few years that I did the Christmas Bird count John Mahoney always did it with me, and I think this was his favorite bird. To this day, whenever I see a water ouzel (A.K.A an American Dipper) I always think of John Mahoney. I know it as a 'john Mahoney bird'. And it is kind of a cool bird. It walks underwater along the bottom of creeks and looks for food. Right after I took this picture the ouzel flitted down into the creek and walked under the ice. Patrick

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