Sunday, March 16, 2014

Free to Wander!

Whew!! I've been cooped up inside for several weeks now, working toward a huge deadline. But now the deadline has come and gone, the work is done (yay!), and I can finally get outside again for some relaxing wanderings in the woods. And how perfect that this new freedom has come just in time for some really great spring-like weather!

It was gorgeous yesterday morning when I visited Osbornedale State Park. The animals were definitely feeling the onset of spring, too! So much of the park was just the same as when I visited here at the end of February last year; aren't seasons amazing? A male Northern Cardinal was singing jubilantly from the tallest trees:

Male Red-winged Blackbirds were all over the place, calling and flashing their bright shoulder patches:

A tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet fluttered around in the woods, checking out the sap flowing from a tree trunk:

Mmm, sap:

I love how the same place can be so similar from year to year, but there's always something new to see. The Eastern Bluebirds I met here last year were absent, but dozens of American Robins were foraging in the stubbly fields:

I'm happy to see Dark-eyed Juncos while they continue to hang around for another month or so:

I was also very happy to meet a few Fox Sparrows under the trees; I think these birds are super pretty, and I only see them every once in a while:

An Eastern Chipmunk watched me from high up in a vine-covered tree:

Happy almost-spring, little mammal! That's quite the fortress you've got there, and a lovely throne.

My favorite surprise of the day was a trio of Hooded Mergansers in a small melted corner of the pond -- two fancy males and a plainer female. These birds are so much like perfectly carved and painted statues, it's amazing:

Those are some really awesome costumes, especially when the males decide to raise their hoods:

Female Hooded Mergansers are also very pretty, of course, with their own funny fancy hair:

I am definitely excited for the many more spring happenings soon to come!


  1. Your photos make me have some faith that Spring may be coming after all!

  2. Your photos are amazing! How lucky you were to see those Hooded Mergansers so close. I see them on ponds and rivers sometimes, but always too far away to photograph with my little pocket camera.

    1. Thanks, Jackie! It was definitely a lucky encounter, and a rare treat. This is one of the few times I've seen Hooded Mergansers so close as well.

  3. Congratulations on that deadline!!! I can't even imagine how good that must feel. :-)