IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

So how was your Valentine’s Day? Did it include candy, a card, flowers and dinner out?  Jay and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in a less traditional way.  Last year it was bitter cold, and windy, I am sure most people opted to spend the day indoors.

We chose to get up before the sun, bundle up and head to Delaware.  My thought was if the critters could brave the cold, so could I.  The Horseshoe crabs and most of the shore birds I normally photograph in Delaware were gone.  The robins and goldfinches were basking in the warmer temperatures further south.  However my efforts were rewarded by thousands of Snow Geese.

Snow Geese

We enjoyed being just below the gigantic flock of geese as they soared over head. However the Hawk that was trapped beneath the flock wasn’t having any fun.  He had to be content with hovering in the same general area until the flock had passed.

Large numbers of Canada geese also decided to spend the winter in Delaware.

Canada Geese

This year’s plan includes venturing just a bit further to New Jersey. There we will be looking for Loons, waterfowl, Owls, Tundra Swans, raptors, deer, and coyotes.   Yes this is a long list, but when we go looking for birds that migrate it really is hit or miss.  On our trip to Minnesota we missed the Loons by just a few days.   However the Whooping Cranes arrived about the same time we did.

Whooping Cranes

On our way beck to West Virginia we will spend some time in Delaware.   I am hoping this trip will yield lots of new images to share in the future.   The purpose of this trip is multi fold.  Of course I will be photographing any critter I find.  I will also be counting birds.

For 19 years volunteers have been counting birds. This year the count dates are February 12 to February 15th.  Last year more than 140,000 people took part in the count.  You can count from your own backyard for as little as 15 minutes.  More information on the Great Backyard Bird Count can be found at .


Why count birds? This annual count gives scientist a snapshot of the world’s bird population.  Those of you that follow my blog know I also tag and count Monarch butterflies. My part in these annual events is small, but when combined with the efforts of other volunteers our efforts provide a huge amount of data.


Is there an annual event you take part in?  Your contribution, no matter how small, really does count.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I can count on you to comment and share this blog.

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23 Responses to Counting

  1. Wranglers says:

    I love birds. You got some lovely photos. At our WV home, we have 2 Canadian Geese who come back every year to have their babies. We gave them Royal names. Will & Kate + 8. Thanks for sharing. Cher’ley


  2. Mike Staton says:

    Great photos and a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Fun read. Although I don’t envy that cold, bitter temperatures.


    • S J Brown says:

      As it turns out my plans changed after I scheduled this post. Our Dog Val wasn’t doing well so we changed gears and did a quick trip to Maryland instead. It was still bitter cold and I didn’t get the photos I would have in New Jersey, but it was a good trip. I did get a few photos that were on my wish list like deer in the snow. Actually not an easy shot to get. Deer don’t hang out where it is snow covered since they have to work for their meal. But again timing was on our side and we caught a small herd trekking through the snow on their way to their feeding ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy Jardine says:

    Fantastic photos, S. J. The way species across the world are diminishing it’s great that there are people, likes yourself, doing the population counts. Bundling up is probably the easy part of being out in the cold. I imagine the hanging around to capture the images is the colder part.


    • S J Brown says:

      According to my car when I got back in after getting the first photos of the day is was 10 degrees out. Since we changed our plans at the last minute I only counted in WV and Maryland this year. But those totals combined with other totals will help give a clear picture of how things are going for the birds.


  4. Great post and lovely pictures! You capture such detail that they are a delight to look at! Good luck with your next venture.


  5. Doris says:

    What an wonderful thing you are doing. Not only to photograph what you find, but to help collect data…thank you. Good ‘hunting’ Doris


    • S J Brown says:

      Our trip was postponed , but we made up for it. We did a one day trip into Maryland last weekend. Then another quick trip to NJ this weekend. I did manage to collect data in Maryland and West Virginia, so I still got to help out. Both trips were successful.


  6. Joe Stephens says:

    I don’t participate in anything like that. I like the idea of it, but I just never seem to find the time. I hope when I retire I can fit it in. I think it would be a blast.


    • S J Brown says:

      15 years ago I thought that photographing wildlife would be a great thing to do when I retire. Then hubby made a simple statement that changed both our lives for the better. “Why wait until you retire”.


  7. S J,
    I think it’s great that you take part in the counting process of birds and butterflies. I’m glad there’s people like you around. The pictures look great.
    Thanks –
    – Stephen


  8. Neva Bodin says:

    We know a lady in our town who counts birds in the area on certain days also. I love just watching any kind of wild life, and photographing any is a plus also. Sounds like a great way to enjoy life. Good for you and hopefully your next trip will work out as planned. Love your photos.


  9. Love your photos like always. I drove down to Coronado Island in San Diego for Valentine’s Day weekend. On the way, I spotted a beautiful hawk that was soaring above me. It circled around and around and I tried to take a photo but it was difficult while driving. It came out blurry which was too bad.


  10. katewyland says:

    Love the picture of the geese. What a neat way to spend the weekend. So nice Jay shares your passion. I’m going to have to study a bird book so I can identify the ones around me and maybe I’ll take part in the count next year.


    • S J Brown says:

      The count is usually on Valentines Day weekend. You can count from anywhere. It is actually pretty easy. You report the ones you can identify. I have several bird books and will take the time to research any I don’t know. I just get a little carried away. My goal is to count in 3 different states, one state for each day of the count.


  11. wyoauthor1 says:

    I envy you, SJ — I’d love to be able to get out more, travel to new places, and see new sights while experiencing wildlife. I did the backyard bird count a few times and even went out with some Audubon folks one December — I’m just not into the cold weather anymore though. One of these years, when I winter in AZ, I’ll get back into it. Keep up the great work!


    • S J Brown says:

      I know it seems like I am traveling a lot compared to most people, but I started slowly and just keep exploring new areas. When things are hectic like when we were moving I did short one day trips. Getting out to photograph critters helps both hubby and I to unwind and relax.


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