Bufflehead Watch

Bufflehead on the James, 2008

Bufflehead on the James, 2008

Over the weekend I heard my father-in-law say, “I’m going upstairs to work on my sweaters.” I noticed my husband took a cue from his dad and has pulled all his own winter clothes down from the attic.

This morning, I could see my breath. As I drove across the James, I saw the river’s foggy breath, too. Even just a week or two ago, the coonhound and I were wading in the James and crawling over rocks. Now, all of a sudden folks are working on their sweaters!

So. We’ve arrived at the real end or beginning that is for me not marked by fall or winter, but more by the official good-bye to summer and changing of the birds. The goldfinches are clinging to susans elsewhere from here. The juncos will probably show up en masse any minute.

And best of all, the bufflehead will come to their winter home on our river. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology calls the bufflehead, “the smallest diving duck in North America.” Today my daughter and I will start our [ok, my] daily river watch for the sweet, tiny duck that lives here from November until about February.

To learn more about the bufflehead visit the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds site:http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bufflehead/id

Bufflehead Duck, James River, Winter 2008

Bufflehead Duck, James River, Winter 2008

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