Today was a beautiful day for a ride. The sky was clearÂwinter blue with temps in the 70’s and a constant chill breeze making it seem even milder. The sweet warm smell of cedar was thick on the air along the trails. So glad I don’t get cedar fever.

As I rode, I watched a ghostly pale moon slowly climb the afternoon sky, and I decided to count birds species as I did last June on the day after the Summer Solstice.

That day, I saw 20 birds on a 20 mile ride. Today, two days before the first day of winter, I saw 8 birds in 14 miles:

Turkey Vulture… circling lazy, selecting from a veritable buffet of dead deer along the road

Black Vulture… three circling, as lackadaisical as their cousins

Common Grackle… swarming the parking lot at HEB

Great-tailed Grackle… also at HEB, but looking more regal in their iridescent purple than the common ones

American Coot… paddling the lake

Mockingbird… cut fast across the trail and away to the trees

Mallard… a small flock kicking it in a secluded bend in the creek shielded by cedar

American Crow… exploded from a tree on the edge of a meadow, caw-cawing in angry circles as I rode below

It was a good day for the black birds.