December 30: It's been almost three weeks since I was able to go on a bird photo hike, and it was good to get out again. Although the temperatures were just a little above freezing, all of the ponds were still close to being almost completely frozen over, and even Lake Monocan was about half frozen. The skies were heavily overcast.
All of the birds I saw were common winter species - a lone, female Mallard seemed to be frozen to one spot on the lake. It had the grayest head that I have seen on a Mallard, and a buffy orange throat, but I am fairly sure that it was a Mallard. An eye level Red-shouldered Hawk let me get very close, and the hike ended with a Hermit Thrush making an appearance.
December 31: Bright and sunny this morning, but little change to the ice on the water bodies. There were 80 to 90 Canada Geese on Lake Monocan. A lot of the birds were out, but just the usual species. Saw another Red-shouldered Hawk, but a lot farther away than yesterday. The Turkey Vultures were drying out their wings as Black Vultures flew overhead.