Many years ago, during the last winter I spent in the Pacific Northwest before I moved to Europe, I had the good fortune to experience the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count, an annual event that has been going on for more than 100 years where volunteers from all over the United States go out into the cold winter weather to count birds. The volunteers that year were organized by the husband of a friend of mine who had been an Audubon Society member for many years and who had a good many Christmas Bird Counts already under his belt.
Our task was simple: Go outdoors with our binoculars, notebook, and pen or pencil, look for birds, make note of their types and numbers. Ultimately, our data was sent to a central Audubon Society office where it was tabulated and used for creating a census of birds in the entire country for that year.
It was wonderful trudging through the snow, scouting for birds, finding and watching them through the binoculars for a whole day. When I returned to the warmth of my house at the end of the day, I remember having a feeling a peacefulness that I have never felt since.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing about this is that the Blog of Note from 21 January 2009 was Miradas Cantábricas and consists of some of the most beautiful photos of birds that I have ever seen. Except for not being outside, looking at these photos of the birds is as good as the Christmas Bird Count and makes me want to venture out into the cold this weekend to see what birds I might be able to find. Check it out! It's in Spanish, but you don't need to be able to read the words to enjoy the photos, although it's useful to know that if you click on the words "Entradas antiguas" at the bottom right of the page, you will get a new page with more photos from earlier blog posts.