The usual suspects
Pity the poor Black-Capped Chickadee, so common he's usually overlooked. Anyone reading state birdlistservs will rarely see posts proclaiming "Black-Capped Chickadee in Menasha!" No, that honor goes to the Slaty-Blacked Gull, subject of numerous posts in the past week on wisbird.
I have not been in a position to take a drive across the state to see for myself if this bird really is a Slaty-Backed or something else. As a general rule, I don't make it a habit of driving much beyond my local birding haunts anyway. Out of the area bird trips have to be combined with other activities that required me to travel. Had this bird made its appearance just a few days earlier, I could have justified the trip in combination with visits to my son at a medical facility near Menasha. It was not to be.
As a result, I am not likely to be one of those ardent birders out to try and catch one last bird for my list of 2006 today. With a nasty head cold, I'm finding my late 2006 birding confined to what can be seen outside my windows or while walking the dog around Lake Neshonoc. This time of year, that means what I get to see are those birds usually lumped into birding reports as "the usual suspects." The poor birds don't even garner a listing out of their names. In honor of all the "usual suspects," I will list them out by name. My proud late-2006 sightings!
American Tree Sparrow
Along with my two cool sightings on the dog route--
Great Horned Owl--thank you, American Crows and Black-Capped Chickadees, for leading me to him!
Ruffed Grouse--thanks probably go to Loca, the dog, for her too-close approach.
Though my birding these last couple months has been sorely limited, I've enjoyed each encounter, whether it's with a magnificent owl or a jaunty little chickadee scolding me. Happy New Year!