[Tweeters] a cancelled CBC

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 18 17:08:25 PST 2021

Dear Tweeters,
Today, the 18th of December, was supposed to be the North Cascades Christmas Bird Count, up in the Newhalem-Diablo area. Two of us arrived up there well before dawn, for owling, but the weather proved insuperable, and we decided to inform the count coordinator that we were high-tailing it back to the west. We could have proceeded with the count, but the snow was falling so fast that the roads were getting covered faster than the ploughs could clear them. As a result, the only place one could park, assuming that one was not driving a snowmobile or a monster truck, was directly on Highway 20 itself. Even the streets of Newhalem hadn't been ploughed, and the unploughed stretch of Highway 20 between Newhalem and Diablo was covered with several inches of snow by dawn. I think this was only the second time that this count had been cancelled, in its roughly 30 years of existence. Normally we soldier on in horrid conditions, usually featuring miserable rain and temperatures just above freezing, but safety comes first.
I did see two birds on my way up there. Driving through Rockport at 0554, as the snow started falling heavily in the darkness, a large owl flew right over my car. I am guessing it was a Barred Owl.
In Marblemount about fifteen minutes later, a poor little Killdeer was standing in the middle of SR 20 as I drove through at 20 mph. The bird flew up and away, probably calling--but I could hear only the sounds of tires grinding on snow, windshield wipers slapping on the windscreen, and the blower keeping me supplied with the hot air which I require. 
I hope the Killdeer figured it out, flew west to the sodden fields and muddy margins in the lower valley, and found himself something to eat. That's what I did.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch 

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