It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter, and many of our members find the chill energizing. Bundle up and join us for an outdoor adventure this month!

December 2023 Programs

Registration is required for all programs by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org unless otherwise specified.

We have binoculars!
If you’d like to borrow a pair, please ask when you register.

It’s Christmas Bird Count time!The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running community science bird project in the United States. This early-winter bird census is a National Audubon Society community science program that relies on volunteers across the Western Hemisphere to go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds. There are three local Counts in this region – plenty of opportunity to add to the 122-year strong tradition. New or inexperienced birders will be paired with more experienced groups, and fun is almost guaranteed! Each Count is organized by a compiler who assigns volunteers to specific routes through a 15-mile diameter circle. Contact the compiler for the Christmas Bird Count for which you’d like to participate:

Saturday, December 16 – Peekskill, NY Compiler: Mike Newhouse michael.newhouse@wsp.com

Sunday, December 17 – Greenwich-Stamford, CT  Compiler: Cynthia Ehlinger cynthia.ehlinger@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 2 – Putnam County, NY Compiler: Charles Roberto chasrob26@gmail.com

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Let’s head to the ocean…
And forest, meadow, fresh water, and salt marsh! Naturalist Tait Johansson will lead an exploration of these habitats on our early-December Field Trip to Edith Read Sanctuary and the Marshlands Conservancy, a favorite trip among members! These sanctuaries have been recognized by Audubon New York as Important Bird Areas (IBA) due to their significant habitats and flyway. Targets include Greater and Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated and Common Loons, Great Horned Owl, and Fox Sparrow.
Saturday, December 2, 8:30am-12:30pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate. Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

This month’s Book Club selection is a winner!
Join December’s Bylane Book Club discussion of The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. This rich and magical novel on belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal is the winner of the 2022 BookTube Silver Medal in Fiction and Shortlisted on the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2022; it is also a Reese’s Book Club Pick. It is “An enthralling, historically revelatory, ecologically radiant, and emotionally lush tale of loss and renewal.” – Booklist (starred review). This book is available to borrow from Westchester Libraries and is available as an e-book and on audio.

Please join us as we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Bylane Book Club (and leader Melanie Brocklehurst) with festive drinks and nibbles ahead of the holiday season.

Monday, December 4, 6:00pm. Cost: Free. Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

‘Tis the season to identify waterfowl.
Don’t put those binoculars away – the colder months are a great time to practice your identification skills on the ducks and geese that gather, and tend to linger, on the water. Join Naturalist Tait Johansson for his First Wednesday’s Bird Walk at Deans Bridge in Somers. This month’s walk will complete the annual cycle of tracking the changing seasons through the numbers and bird species we see in the different habitats on this walk: water, wetland, grassland, and woodland areas. We’ll be hoping for sightings of Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, and other waterfowl, Red-shouldered Hawk, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Swamp Sparrow.
Wednesday, December 6, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Moderate (due to a steep incline on the trail). Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Some gardening projects are easier to do in the winter.
This includes tackling invasive plants – access is easier and with the leaves gone, the plants can be easier to handle. Join Naturalist and Board Member Steve Ricker for an interactive Habitat Renewal Day. Steve will take you under his wing to share his knowledge of some pesky invasives and together we’ll work to get rid of them. Tools and gloves will be provided, or you can bring your own (loppers and hand pruners are the most used tools). Plants with thorns, and poison ivy may be present.
Saturday, December 9, 11:00am-12:30pm. Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Winter Solstice is the great stillness before the days grow longer; it can be a time to rest and reflect.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. A perfect time for us to look within and reflect on the passing year, a pause before we look forward to the lengthening days and the promise of the New Year to come. Our friend, Catherine Downs, a local Master Reiki Practitioner, will lead our Solstice Meditation Walk on the lower level of the Hunt-Parker Sanctuary, across from Bylane Farm.
Wednesday, December 20, 3:00-4:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty:  Moderate (the trail is steep in places). Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Don’t miss our last bird walk of 2023!
Our December Third Thursday’s Bird Walk falls on the Winter Solstice: although it marks the astronomical first day of winter and shortest day of the year in our area, this also means the days will now start getting longer. Join Naturalist Tait Johansson for this easy local walk in the Cross River Reservoir area of Katonah; as our last bird walk of the year, it’s sure to be popular!  We will be looking for wintering waterfowl such as Common Mergansers on the reservoir, Common Ravens, some lingering songbirds like Hermit Thrush or Eastern Towhee, and possibly a Bald Eagle.
Thursday, December 21, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org