We began Saturday with a snow-filled hunt for a Snowy Owl. One had been sighted in our county (and two were sighted in a bordering county) but alas, we were unsuccessful. Our main mission was not to find birds, though, as we were heading to purchase a real Christmas tree. It has been a tradition of ours to get real trees every year. Last year we went to a cut-your-own tree farm and decided to do the same again this year.
With snow lightly falling and seven inches of the white stuff on the ground already, we were definitely in the Christmas spirit. Immediately upon arriving at Williams Tree Farm in Winnebago County, we were greeted by the resident pack of Golden Retrievers. While seeing one Golden is great, and two or three even better, getting to pet and hug seven of the ELEVEN farm-living Goldens is priceless. And while the event reminded us of our Max (who sadly passed away in April), we were delighted for this enjoyable experience.
Video of three of the Golden Retrievers
We rode a horse-drawn wagon out to find our tree (a Colorado Bruce Spruce) which we filmed. There is a lot of background noise but a few things to listen for: horse neighing and dogs fighting over the remains of a rabbit.
We found the perfect tree (which took looking through several great ones) and Birdfreak cut it down. Timber!!
While we were waiting around for the guy to come by and pick up our tree, we spotted a Rough-legged Hawk and heard several Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows. We have found that tree farms have been wonderful for birds and are the only reliable place in the county to find Clay-colored Sparrows (spring/summer).
We had a great morning out in the snow with dogs, birds, and a wonderful Christmas tree. Then it was time to warm up!