Winter is a special time out in the woods, and there are some colors, like the Bob Danley photo of Wolf Lichen in the Bitterroot National Forest on a Ponderosa Pine tree. Of course, the subtle colors on the birds from large to small are easy to see against a white background. On your drive along the East Side Highway at mid-day, look for hawks and eagles. They are hunting for lunch - rodents and small birds, mainly. You'll them in the air, but also on the ground. Mountain Ash trees have lots of berries and can be a nice gathering place for smaller birds. Bob says the ponds at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge have some open water all year, because they are spring-fed. The birds know this and are there.

Bob says this is a good time to see what you accomplished this last year in wildlife watching, and be ready for 2019 by setting some goals using the SMART acronym (from the business world). They are listed below.

  • Specific - Figure out what, where and when to find certain species.
  • Measurable - How many, how much or how often for expected results.
  • Attainable - Is your goal realistic?
  • Relevant - Is this a short-term or long-term goal?
  • Time-bound - What amount of time is needed to accomplish the goal?
  • Do some research - books are good, but local people are very valuable. Then, remember to be flexible. You may not make your goal, but the journey may provide some really memorable times. And keep your feeders full! You might see something like the Dark-eyed Junco (photo below). Bob's getting ready for another year of outdoor journals.

    Dark-eyed Junco eating lunch. (Mike Daniels, Townsquare Media)