All of a sudden, it feels like winter around here. I went for a walk in Naugatuck State Forest this afternoon, and even though the sky was completely clear and the sun was bright, it was pretty darn cold!
This was my first time back in the forest since Superstorm Sandy, and there were so many fallen trees out there, mostly big conifers. Crews had already come through and cleared the trails (with big trucks, if the tracks in the mud were any indication), but I still saw a lot of strangely oriented trees on my walk:
The storm also scattered fallen branches and pine cones onto the paths, and I saw groups of chickadees, titmouses, and nuthatches actually hopping around on the ground foraging through this stuff -- that was a pretty cool and unusual sight. A few other birds were foraging low in the trees as well, including our two kinglets -- I feel like I've been seeing a lot of kinglets this fall, or maybe they've just happened to be unusually accommodating for me and my camera. This Golden-crowned Kinglet looked like a decorative ornament hanging on the bare branches:
And this Ruby-crowned Kinglet was actually showing its namesake spot of red, which I've only ever seen once before on these little birds (look closely, it's there):
On the lakes were two birds I don't often see around here. A female Bufflehead (or possibly a young male) was diving into the cold water and popping back up again every few seconds:
And a fluffy little Pied-billed Grebe floated along nearby:
As I left for home, the sun was sinking and it was getting even colder in the woods, but this trio of Mallards sure seemed comfortable in their late afternoon bath:
It's nice to know that the woods made it through the storm, albeit with several fewer trees still vertical. The chopped up fallen trees along the paths look strange and awkward right now, but I'm sure they'll blend into the normal forest scene before too long. I'm glad I got to visit the woods today to keep up to date with its changes.