I have used New Year's Day a hiking day for the past several years. Usually I choose a place I haven't been to before but today I decided to go back to Clay Island since there was a report of a pair of Groove-billed Ani hanging out by an observation tower. Not sure which direction to head (there was only one tower I knew of from years ago) I headed West. I only found a flock of Tree Swallows in the air after walking the first 15 minutes.
There were zero birds in the water. Not even a Common Gallinule. Just one American Alligator tucked back in the reeds.
I eventually came upon an observation tower. A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling across the canal. A few Palm Warblers were scattered just past the tower. Nothing else was in view.
I got to the top of the tower and was soon at eye level with a single Turkey Vulture drifting by. The rest of the area was clear and still. I was getting bored. I also just realized that I should have gone to the next turn than the one I took. Now I couldn't get to the original tower which was across the canal. Sigh.
I follow the path in the only direction I could travel and eventually got to the observation tower where others had reported the Anis. They were a no-show for me. Really bored. I decided to head home. Up on the wires on the way back was a lone American Kestrel.
I climbed back into the car feeling defeated. These first of the year hikes are usually teaming with birds. I rounded the curve and had a Sandhill Crane feeding in a yard.
90 minutes of hiking. 4 bird photos. At least I know where some birds are. Back in my neighborhood. Happy New Year.