Not a Bird Count

In need of a post-Christmas hike and with the idea of perhaps doing my own informal bird count, I set out. Within moments of my boots setting down a path in the forest, I am once again reminded that Nature determines my experience of her.

It was three o’clock in the afternoon; I heard a woodpecker, and few birds chirping, until I came to the ocean side, and the gulls and crows were going home to roost. A bit of trivia: The Christmas bird count was first called the “Christmas Bird Census” and was started in 1900 by the ornithologist Frank Chapman. No bird count for me today, but if you are interested please check the posted sites.

Taking in the forest on what may be my last hike of this year, at least my last posting, I was pointed to several things. In the forest, someone had decorated a tree with a few ornaments, and while the trees do not need us to embellish their beauty, it put a smile on my face and made me wonder what the tree would have thought of this concept. Would the encounter have gone something like this, “Aren’t you pretty now?” ”What the heck are those things?”

Not far away, there is also a fallen tree which I have not seen in previous walks. It looks like it may have been hit by lightening.

Overhead, I heard a creaking of what sounded like several squeaky doors. Looking up, I stared at the topmost branches swaying to and fro, despite the windless depth of the forest.

So that is it. No bird count–more like a tree count. A few bird sounds, some creaking trees, the stream leading to the ocean, and a tree proclaiming to the forest that Christmas in another world has come and gone.

Easy, familiar simplicity. I like it that way.

Many happy 2011 forest hiking days to you and yours.