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Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Couple More Birds and Conclusion of the WJC

With daily hockey games the birding has continued to be limited, and even on my few walks sightings have pretty much been limited to a pair of mourning doves or a small flock of crows.

Mourning dove

 The only birds added to the year list this week are a red-tailed hawk (13) seen from the car and the American goldfinches (14) that have started coming to the feeders.

Pair of American goldfinches with a black-capped chickadee

Pretty much all of the eastern bird species that I had hoped to photograph while here have eluded me since New Year's Day, so I hope they start coming to the feeders again in the next couple of days. The only eastern species I have photographed isn't a bird but a mammal - the eastern gray squirrel:

Eastern gray squirrel

The lack of birding has clearly been getting to me as last night I had a dream about bird-watching (granted it was in the warmth by the thawed out lake, not in the 20s in the snow like it is here!). There were all sorts of bizarre birds in the dream that I hadn't seen before, and the only one I was able to locate in my dream field guide was the emperor-faced sora. It looked like a coot and was swimming in the lake but had bright orange cheeks, a yellow bill, and a strange blue knob on top of it's head. My dad suggested I start a 2011 dream bird list, and right now that one would probably exceed my waking bird list for the year!

That said, the World Junior Championship has been a phenomenal experience for a hockey fan like myself. I've attended 10 games in 8 days, and some of the more exciting match-ups have come since my last post. After Sweden beat Canada in the round robin play to win their grouping, Canada faced off against Team USA in the semi-finals, ending any hope for a repeat of last year's gold medal match-up where USA upset Canada in overtime. The crowd for the USA vs. Canada game was unbelievable:

Crowd at the USA vs. Canada semi-final game

Canadian fans, who far outnumbered US fans even though we're in New York and not Ontario, celebrated the 4-1 win and sent USA to the bronze medal game vs. Sweden.

Waving the red, white, and blue at the bronze medal game

Yesterday afternoon in the bronze medal game, USA came out with a strong third period performance to top Team Sweden 4-2 and win the bronze. While somewhat of a disappointment after last year's gold, it's the first time USA has won a medal while hosting the tournament and the first time in the 35 years of the tournament's existence that they have won medals in back-to-back years.

Team USA shakes hands with Team Sweden after being awarded their bronze medals

Yesterday evening was the gold medal match-up of Canada vs. Russia. Canadians were out in full force hoping to see their team recapture the gold medal they had won for five straight years before last year. Tickets were being resold for about $200 a piece and there was not an empty seat in the noisy building when the game started.

Team Canada during warm-ups at the gold medal game

Things were looking to go in the Canucks' favor after Canada was up 3-0 after two periods of play, but Russia came out strong with a pair of goals 13 seconds apart early in the third, and Canada failed to respond as Russia put up three more to score five unanswered goals in the third period to snatch the gold medal.

Russia celebrates winning the 2011 World Junior Championship

While about half the fans poured out of the building with time still on the clock after Canada was trailing 5-3, those that stayed were surprisingly classy and cheered Russia's win. I did hear one woman telling her husband that she didn't regret one penny they spent on the tickets, though he didn't seem to feel the same way. I went into the game cheering for Canada since Portland Winterhawk Ryan Johansen is on the team, but I couldn't help but root for the heavy underdogs and admire Russia's upset win.

Now that I'm overdosed on hockey for a while it's time to get cracking on that year list!

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