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:
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!