I saw what I thought was an exciting, and somewhat unusual, bird but on consulting Sibley, I think it was likely a western grebe and that all of the "western grebes" I've been recording for the last stretch are more likely horned grebes. It could be discouraging to realize just how weak I remain on some birds that I see pretty darned frequently.
But I got home to find an envelope had arrived in the mail with the words "Project FeederWatch materials enclosed!" in bold letters on the front.
You'd better believe I was pretty excited even though it seems that the Project FeederWatch 28th Season ends on April 3rd. But because it's so late in the season, Cornell is automatically signing me up for next year for free! I'm sure that the decoder ring will come in the kit for renewing participants that is sent out in November. In the meantime I can study up on the other materials provided in today's envelope: a poster of common backyard birds, a bird-watching days calendar, the sample tally sheet, and, most promising of all, the FeederWatch Handbook & Instructions!