On January 1, 2015, the weather was anything but ideal. The temperatures were far below normal, causing the lakes and ponds to freeze and the waterfowl to abandon the area. The winds were howling, causing the birds to take shelter and sit silently. The birds would be very difficult to see and impossible to hear.
If there is one word that can describe the birders of the Limberlost area it is "determination". Despite the horrible weather conditions, 18 determined birders spent their holiday recording the birds in the area.
They found a total of 37 species with 3963 individual birds, far better than expected under the circumstances. They drove a total of 213 miles, and they even braved the elements and walked through habitats to locate the birds.
Included in the list of species they found were Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown Creepers, Great Blue Heron, Pine Siskins, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, Swamp Sparrow, American Wigeon and Tundra Swans.
Afterward, they gathered around the table and enjoyed a steaming bowl of hearty chili, scrumptious cheesy biscuits, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, and other goodies while sharing stories of their morning adventures. Limberlost supplied the venue, Terri Gorney supplied the food, and Gene's teachings helped supply the incentive.
"Helping the birds" - the first resolution of the year was off to a healthy start. Gene would have been pleased.