Today, Mary and I participated in one of our holiday traditions, the San Jose Christmas Bird Count (CBC). As you probably know, our job is to count every bird we see within our small piece of a 10mi circle drawn around the center of San Jose. We constitute Party #4 of the Alviso Sector. We are entrusted with a key to the National Wildlife Refuge. Our most important task is to ensure that the San Francisco Bay's population of Snowy Plovers gets into the CBC database for San Jose.
The weather was pretty spectacularly bad, with temperatures in the 40's most of the day, driving winds all afternoon, and frequent rain showers. The wind is particularly vexing when trying to tally up hundreds of ducks on a record sheet flapping in the breeze.
In spite of all that, we had some magical moments. After an hour of tramping along narrow catwalks under the high tension power towers, we were rewarded with two seperate flocks of the aforementioned Snowy Plovers totaling 67 birds, more than four times as many as we've ever seen in our area. It turns out some nearby ponds have much higher water levels this year, probably pushing some birds into our count area. We also got to watch a Prairie Falcon and a Golden Eagle trying to keep their composure in the wind. We got to visit Drawbridge, a genuine ghost town in the middle of the bay.
Afterwards, we retreated to Una Mas to write up the paperwork and grab a bite to eat. Burrito's never tasted so good.