Today, Karen Miller, Lance Verderame and I covered my usual Christmas Count Sector of the Monticello Christmas Count. The day started rainy and dark. It was relatively warm with temps in the low 40’s. This was a different experience than we are used to. Warm temps, no snow on the ground and all but the smallest ponds completely free of ice. This created a situation where birds were greatly dispersed. The Eagle roost at the Rio Reservoir that produced well over forty eagles last year, produced only four eagles this morning. That seemed to set the pace for the day. Birds that would normally be seen along the roads were nonexistent. (270 Dark-eyed Juncos just ten days ago, today only 11) That said, we had some nice finds and good birds for the count circle. The birds of most interest to me were the nuthatch/creeper group. We had a total of 8 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHS, 21 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHS and 6 BROWN CREEPERS! A couple of flocks of American Gold Finches were joined by 3 PINE SISKINS. I think our best birds of the day actually took place outside our count sector. Due to my experience with gulls, my team always does a gull count in another sector at the Shop-rite Plaza and Kiamesha Lake at the end of our day. We were pleased to find a juvenile GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL at Kiamesha Lake and an adult at the Shop-rite Plaza. This species has become rare in the county in recent years since the landfill closed, and it is great to have a couple on the count. We ended our day with 30 species, 398 individuals, our lowest count in my 15 years of covering this area.