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The Daily Bucket is a place where we can post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings in our neighborhoods. Birds, bugs, blossoms and more - each notation is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the natural patterns that are unwinding around us.
Seattle. December 13, 2012.

Of all the books I keep at my bedside, there are two that I reach for when I need comfort: the Journals of Gilbert White, an 18th century naturalist living in Selborne, Hampshire, England; and A Season of Birds, the notes of James Vincent, an early 20th century gameskeeper for one of the big estates in Norfolk, England.

I've not much today, so will let you read what they wrote on December 13, 1772 and December 13, 1911.

Gilbert White:

Dec. 13, 1772. Female Chaffinches congregate.
Did female Chaffinches always congregate in Selborne during mid-December? Or was this something odd. He mentions them only two other times: once in February 19, 1775;
...Vast flocks of hen-chaffinches.
and the second on March 14, 1780.
Chafffinches sing but in a shorter way than in Hants.
White wrote the March 14 entry while visiting Ringmer, England, about 60 miles south and east of Selborne. While not offering any insight about female Chafffinch winter behavior, this note does suggest that he was thinking about regional dialects in birdsong.

James Vincent:

December 13, 1911. Saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpeckers in the Town Wood.
There are a great many Long-tailed Tits in the Woods, also a fair number of Marsh and Grey Tits.
The Blue Tits are very partial to the reed beds.
The only Grey Tit (Parus afer) I was able to find online is native to South Africa. There is, however, a Great Tit (Parus major) still common in England. Perhaps this is the bird Vincent observed.

White and Vincent both wrote of what they observed locally in their natural word, day to day, year to year. Their writing has given those who now live in the same neighborhoods a framework for comparison of what was then and what is now. We do the same here, day to day, with the hope that someone in the future may find our observations valuable for their comparisons.

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So, what's happening in your natural neighborhood in mid-December, 2012? Jump in with your observations and your locations. Perhaps your notes will be of import to someone a century or more from now.

With luck, I'll be back in the early afternoon PST. It's been busy at work of late. If not, I promise to return around dinner time.

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