7 days from now I'll be hopefully in a dog park in Florida tallying a rare bird, but a lot can happen in even a week. My Big Year awaits, meanwhile I'm in Wisconsin celebrating Christmas, eating potato sausage, egg bake, opening presents and having good cheer.
My son Allwin returned from Bonn, Germany and his studies, I picked him up at the airport yesterday and like the prodigal son, he has returned, but was a little jet-lagged.
Here he is with Grandmother Lucille, generation 1 and 4 in our family together. Everyone had to get photographed with their new hats and scarves, this in Grandmother's present and this is my sister's hat and glove set
Yea...what would a Packer shareholder wear for Christmas? Nobody had enough courage to give anyone a purple and gold hat...
My mother goes all out for Christmas, Christmas china, twenty decorated trees, fancy Spode Christmas China...
My daughter holding my Niece, Lily next to the table all set for Grandmother Lucille's Christmas Meatball Dinner.
Another of the many trees in this home.
My Christmas tradition is my annual Christmas letter, which I got out a week ago and this year's done using quotes from Victor Hugo, so if you didn't get one consider yourself lucky.
It is also traditional that all the men go Ice-fishing on Christmas day but due to El Nino, this is only the second year we have no ice on Big Wood Lake in my lifetime,
The ice edge out about 150 feet from my mom's house with a pair of American Crows looking for anything organic that may have been blown up on the ice. The last dip out so to speak on ice fishing was in the winter of 1997-98 when the Big El Nino led to Sandy Komito's very BIG YEAR! I can only hope....
I ice-fished that December using an tractor inner-tube tied by a rope to a tree in our front yard where we lived 80 miles north of here. I don't remember the fish biting terribly well and it was 'cool' seeing the tube pushing down the two inches of ice when I was near my hole. Seeing the water come out of the hole can be unnerving to those not used to ice fishing on the edge.
Unable to fish this year, we hiked in our snow covered forest and I called in a dozen black-capped chickadees impressing my twins, we found 4 trumpeter swans, I flushed a ruffed grouse, and and we watched gray squirrels feed in the few inches of snow.
We opened gifts and Santa was good to me!! I got what I wanted for Christmas, detailed road atlases of California, Texas, and Arizona, so hopefully, I wont get lost next year. How did you do? I hope you all have had as wonderful of a Christmas as I have and had time to spend with your families, next year, I may not have much time to spend with family trying for rare birds, although in 2012, I got a Boreal Owl driving at dusk to Grandmother's house on Christmas eve. That story is well done in my birding adventure book so I wont repeat but one never knows what miracle can happen on Christmas.
My daughter Lauren Elizabeth "Lena" 15, twins Allwin, and Tyko, aged 20 wife Silja, and me, Olaf the large, and Bjorn the Christmas bear who sneaked into the photo
The next report will be from somewhere on the road, rare birds are being reported in Yuma, Victoria BC, Florida, south Texas, Ohio, Nova Scotia, and south of Montreal, where I may end up is a guarded secret but I could be anywhere!
Maybe I'll run into some of you.
See you on the trail