Biking on (thin) ice


While I normally don’t go out on days where I might encounter ice, a couple of days with no biking made me change my mind. The greenbelt was generally clear, with a few bad patches in shady areas. Esther Simplot had both a Ring-necked Duck and a pair of Buffleheads, and Veterans had a ton of Hoodies and my first Barrow’s Goldeneyes of the year. Remington St. only produced Starlings, but things began to pick up on the way back. RB Nuthatches were being quite noisy just upstream from Silver Lake, and when I stopped I discovered a Downy. But I was still short of 30 birds at that time, and the wind was becoming a real problem, since it really helped going downstream but was resisting my efforts to go upstream.

At Veterans, there was a PB Grebe calling to me (just to make sure he got counted), and the A. Coots at Esther gave me 30. (Whew!) California Gulls and an A. Kestrel helped, but the real treat came when I got home. I noticed a bunch of new “whitewash” near my feeders, and when I looked up, I discovered a Great Horned Owl perched on a branch overlooking my yard. He hung out for a while until the A. Crows discovered him, but he only moved across the street to a bare branch where we could watch the crows dive bomb him. He seemed totally unconcerned throughout. Final tally was 35 birds in 10 ½ miles.

Tom McCabe, Boise

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