For birders the most important part of the solstice season is not presents under the tree or turkey (at least not domestic turkey) but rather the bird counts that end one year and start the next and that have done so for 110 years now. The annual Christmas Bird Count takes place globally for a couple of weeks around Christmas. You can usually find one near pretty much any significant human habitation. This year I did the Brooklyn count on the Saturday before Christmas, the Central Park count on the Sunday before Christmas, and then flew to New Orleans for the New Orleans East count on the Saturday after Christmas (and also to visit family, I feel compelled to mention). It’s especially fun to do bird counts in areas you don’t know all that well, because you’re virtually guaranteed to find something interesting and new.
On Saturday the interesting and new bird for me was an Inca Dove, or rather four of them I spotted in a Live Oak tree in a vacant lot along Hayne Boulevard across the street from Lake Pontchartrain. No photos I’m afraid. On bird counts I usually don’t bring a camera so I can concentrate on finding and counting the birds rather than on photographing them.