And so it is new year...2009. The year began for me in a suburb of Detroit, where it snowed a few inches, beautifully. I took a walk on New Year's Day, and the streets of Royal Oak were empty; there was cold wind at my back. Most of the stores, of course were closed for the day, though a few were shuttered for good. Not a bird or woman or man on the streets. A kind of loneliness that's entirely foreign to Los Angeles, which is lonely in different ways.
But in some ways, Detroit's winter desertion is our gain: I got back Friday night to find the following email in my inbox from Chicken Corner's inveterate waterfowl correspondent, Martin Cox:
The Bufflehead joined the Northern Shovelers on a new years day bird fest AND! ... a Black necked Stilt was seen at the boat house AND the first 5 mallard chicks, the earliest Ever in the year. It's bird madness here.
That's Echo Park Lake birds, some of them visiting from up north (perhaps even Detroit).
Speakingof which, tomorrow morning, Jan. 4, is the annual bird count at Echo Park Lake. Judy Raskin, birder and community activist, posted on a neighborhood list:
Echo Park Lake, meet at the Boathouse at 8:00 a.m. I did a preview walk/run through and discovered some goodies that I hope will be around on Sunday -- Vaux's swifts, ring-billed gulls and herrring gulls. Your eyes may be better than mine and we'll find some other rare-to-the-lake species.