Sunday, December 13, 2009
A brisk Sunday morning as I made an unusually early start to the day to run some errands. After that, a couple hours were freed up to check out Arcadia, and go a huntin' for wildlife...
The clouds had rolled in by the time I got there, portending the forecasted rain, even though the temps were still wayyyy below freezing. Out in the meadows, small flocks of Juncos were fanned out, hiking around the frozen grasses looking for tidbits.
While along the edges, bare red-topped sumac were being poked and plucked by fast moving chickadees.
None of them would stay put for more than a couple of seconds, especially with a human nearby pointing some clicking device at them.
For all the cold, the birds were abundant and active, old and young alike.
There's not much food to be had now, but always just enough.
All the usual suspects were out and about, trying to find it. Also seen but unable to get a decent shot of was a red bellied and downy woodpecker, and a riled blue jay calling out his alarms...
Silently gliding high above the fray, a couple of swans soared by.
The bird nesting boxes in the main field at Arcadia seem to have been taken down; probably for a little refurbishment while the swallows and bluebirds are away, I assume. Although there are some other boxes left in a nearby clearing.
Cardinals are easy to spot, but not as easy to approach. I managed to get close enough to this guy, watching me carefully from under the safety of a thicket. Their super-bright red feathers contrast beautifully with the blanket of snow, and seem to accentuate the cold of winter.
With that encounter, I began my snow-crunching way back.
Just as I was almost back at the vehicle, and relishing the thought of a little heat on my frozen toes, (very little heat)....
...a flock of cedar waxwings suddenly came swooping in and landed on a small tree right nearby, providing one last photo opportunity...
With those black and white masks across the eyes, and the waxy color-tipped feathers, they're among the coolest looking birds to be found, in my opinion.
That was a fortuitous finish to the hike. With noon approaching and the grey sky getting greyer, it was time to get back.