Yes, there are gifts to wrap, cookies to make and holiday decorations still in boxes, but somehow the idea of reaching 300 and spending several hours together searching for a particular bird, while coming across many other birds, sounded much more appealing.
So, we headed to one of our favorite Wildlife Management Areas in search of a Barn Owl that we dipped on in July.
There is a big difference between birding a Wildlife Management Area in July versus December.
Yes, it is colder in December.
It is also hunting season.
Deer. Squirrel. Goose.
Right after we walked through the gate of the area, we met two very nice deer hunters who were dressed head-to-toe in bright orange.They suggested that I take off my white hat, as it might be confused with a deer's white tail bobbing through the woods.
That sounded like a good suggestion, so I let me ears freeze.
We had to walk across this field to get to the barn where the Barn Owl likes to hang out. The difficulty in getting across the field was that there was a goose hunter all set up in a blind with decoys to the left of the field.
I waved at him as he stared at us through his binoculars.
He pointed back up the hill.
Cute Hubby and I decided the best plan was to go around this field to get to the barn.
We met these two goose hunters (Father and Son) right after an uncomfortably close firing of guns came from the edge of the field.
They suggested that it was probably not the best time of the year to go birding in a Wildlife Management Area.
They also told us that the chances were pretty slim that the Barn Owl was hanging in the barn with all the activity in the area.
Then, the hunter (who happened to know tons about birds in general and who had hunted this area for over 30 years and seen the changes - both good and bad to the area) offered us a ride back to the gate.
Well, that sounded like a pretty good idea.
On our way, we passed a guy walking his dog.
The hunter says to his son, "There goes somebody else with a death wish."