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Deep freeze spring

Of course right after I posted about spring being in full swing, and right after a weekend of beautiful, sunny, seventy-degree weather, we woke up on Monday to snow showers. I love snow, but I love it best in the winter. Right about now I'm done with it.

Snow or no, though, we got our weekly hike(s) in. The forest floor is really beginning to look green, and the bird species are increasingly active. We're still a week or so away from when the migration will really take off (pun intended), but we're seeing plenty of fun flutterings in the tree tops already. Here's a few highlights.

At Independence Lake on Thursday, we bundled up and braved the wind for about an hour and rewarded with a welcome party: walking towards the lake from the parking lot we found hundreds of swallows diving as only swallows do. We observed without disturbing them for as long as we could, but when we got too cold we went ahead and walked through their ranks towards the woods on the other side. We expected them to leave the area, or at least to part the seas, but they kept right on going. There were a few close calls, in fact. The rest of the hike was unremarkable, except for the biting cold, and the Sandhill Crane that was waiting for us at the edge of the woods.

Over the weekend the three of us went together to two preserves that were entirely new to us. On Saturday we spent a couple of hours hiking an old wood/swamp area on the edge of preserved farm land. The entire time we were serenaded by a Brown Thrasher perched high in the tree tops. That was a new one for us, and a very intersting one, too. He's a mimic, and his song was so varied that at times we were convinced he had to be two different birds.

Then on Sunday we went on a guided birding hike with our favorite county parks naturalist. Although it was sunny, it was still pretty cold at 8am, and the hike itself wasn't entirely successful as far as bird species go. We saw one Hermit Thrush, a few Kinglets, and some odds and ends sparrows, but on the way home we stopped to enjoy an American Coot that was floating around in some farm-edge wetlands. That was another new one for our species list.

Independence Lake

Barn Swallow

Sandhill Crane

Black-capped Chickadee

DeVine Nature Preserve

White-throated Sparrow

Brown Thrasher

(photo by Calvin)

Mayapples (photo by Calvin)

(photo by Calvin)

Brauer Nature Preserve

Chipping Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

American Coot

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