Christmas Count

This holiday season we traveled to four states in 3 time zones in order to connect with important people in our lives who live across the miles. Along the way we tried unsuccessfully to see some vagrant birds (Emperor Goose in Portland, Hooded Crane in Tennessee) but did manage to spot 2 juvenile Whooping Cranes wintering at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge near Birchwood, Tennessee.

Juvenile Whooping Cranes at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee

We had productive birding and pleasant walking at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and enjoyed visiting the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon Society of Portland again. In the end we added 35 birds to our 2012 list and our Life List is now at 265. My favorite new bird on our list is the common Red-headed Woodpecker, but we also enjoyed seeing Anna's Hummingbird and were surprised to learn that they winter in Oregon.

View of the Columbia River from the Astoria Column
We also spent a great day exploring Fort Clatsop in the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park, then on to charming Astoria, OR where we had lunch, and undoubtedly the best onion rings ever, at the Wet Dog Cafe.

After a quick foray into Washington to see lighthouses at Cape Disappointment and North Head, we headed back to Portland via Camp 18.

Mike and Susan at the North Head lighthouse

Here's the rest of our trip count:
3 parents
2 brothers
2 sisters-in-law
1 niece
4 nephews
2 friends
1 puppy
Too many dinners, treats (especially Mom's peanut butter cookies), and calories to mention!
Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, conversation, games, gifts and making our trip memorable in so many ways.

Happy New Year!

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