Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Bird Count

For three weeks beginning in mid-December, birders across the U.S., and in fact in many other areas of the world, bundle up to go count birds as part of the annual Christmas Bird Count. This year is the 110th Christmas Bird Count, an impressive record for an effort that is nearly all volunteer. In fact, this year, tens of thousands of volunteers are expected to help.

Ely had its Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on December 15, with some notable bird sightings including a merlin at the KOA and a wood duck at the duck pond near the library. I'm going to start taking a closer look at that duck pond! This was the first CBC in Ely.

South Snake Valley had its CBC on December 17. It looks like 46 different bird species were found, including a yellow-shafted flicker (most are red-shafted in this area) and a rock wren, pictured above and below.

There's still one more CBC in the Snake Valley area, at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge. It will be held Sunday, January 3, beginning at 9:30 A.M. (Utah time). Anyone interested is asked to register ahead of time by emailing This CBC gets some top-notch birders from Utah attending, so it's a great opportunity to learn a few more birds at the desert oasis.
I remember my first CBC, which was in Snake Valley. I wondered how in the world I was going to keep from being totally bored looking at birds all day, as I didn't think we would see that many in the middle of winter. I was wrong--when you concentrate on birds, you see them everywhere, even in the middle of winter! Now I really look forward to the annual Christmas Bird Count.

For more info about bird watching, scroll down to see the post by Jay Banta about Christmas Bird Counts and how birders stimulate the economy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EskDale Nativity Play and Candlelight Service

On December 24 at 7 pm (Utah), EskDale will hold their annual Candlelight Service and Nativity Play. All are welcome, and a dessert potluck follows it.

Here are a few scenes from the dress rehearsal for the Nativity Play. Local children are the actors, and they love getting dressed up.

There are several musical numbers, and in EskDale fashion, are performed well with great accompaniment.

Mary and Joseph had fun in the stable picking straw out of the manger. Baby Jesus will be played by a doll.

The angels were darling in their outfits and fun to watch as they got a little antsy from time to time.

The cast of characters ends the program with Joy to the World. Tomorrow night there will be a couple more additions to the cast--they were napping during the dress rehearsal today. The play is never complete without a few hiccups, like straying sheep or costume adjustments.

If you're looking for a great way to spend Christmas Eve, this is a fun outing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baker/Garrison Christmas Program

Last night the Baker/Garrison schools put on their annual Christmas program. It is one of the best-attended programs of the year, with Baker Hall packed. There were easily over 150 people in attendance. The program started off with the elementary school strings (four violins) doing two numbers, and then the band (a flute, clarinet, two trumpets, and a trombone) doing two more musical pieces. They all sounded quite good, especially for being fifth and sixth graders.

Next the kindergarten-second graders sang, played recorders, and then did their play. The play focused on a group of penguins trying to find a new home when their zoo was shut down. They flew to the North Pole, didn't get along with the polar bears, and then went to the Antarctic, where they decided to stay. It was really cute.

The third-sixth graders put on a well-rehearsed performance with lots of choreography and singing. Their setting was Christmas in the West, and it was obvious they enjoyed their costumes. The microphones from EskDale made a huge difference, as we were able to hear everyone well.

Following the program it was time for cookies and Santa Claus! A line of kids waited to tell Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas. My son's wish: "presents." He should be satisfied!

It was a nice evening and always good to see so many people from the community attending.