Birders see the rare and common through seven decades

A small type of falcon, known as a merlin, perches on a fence post in late December in Harvey County. The merlin, rare in this area, and usually found in the Northern Rockies was spotted during the annual Christmas bird count, the second longest running bird survey in the State of Kansas. Photo by Gregg Friesen
By Becki Yoder, Special to Newton Now The Christmas bird count in Newton all began in 1949, when Dwight Platt, a freshman at Bethel College, uttered the phrase “Let’s do one” to friends Roy Henry and Jim Rich. Sixty-eight years later, Platt, 86, he continues to participate in the Halstead-Newton Christmas bird count. “I have only missed a few,” Platt said. Over the course of


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