01.01.2022: Fredenburg, Minnesota

Sunset in a bog near Cotton, MN.

Duluth, Minnesota

“Not a winner…not a winner…”–woman buying lottery tickets at the Holiday till. 

I was buying a large coffee, a large lemon-lime gatorade, and didn’t exactly feel like a winner either. There were several reasons for this. A -35 windchill; the lingering effects of New Year’s Eve celebrations, namely a bottle of sparkling rose…but there was a Christmas Bird Count to do. 

2022: like the last few, year of the Black-capped Chickadee for me. (That is, chickadee was the first species of bird I saw in the new year.) In fact, counters on this CBC, Fredenburg, tallied an astounding 1560 individual Black-capped Chickadees! I love chickadees; I love Christmas Bird Counts, too, for every bird matters, is celebrated. On the first day of a new year–especially in the boreal forest, where encountering fellow life provides comfort in these harsh conditions, birds are celebrated even more. Ravens cruising the roadbeds, a Black-backed Woodpecker drumming in a bog, and a Northern Shrike that bounced across the road (check out Hannah’s photo!) were all purveyors of joy. And, despite the deep cold, we found some open water–and 3 Common Mergansers, which compiler Frank Nicoletti suspected was a new species for the count circle–along the Cloquet River. The day was, in fact, a winner…and I can’t think of a way I’d have wanted to welcome the new year. 

Hannah Toutonghi’s photo of the Northern Shrike we found on the Fredenburg CBC

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