Church was cancelled this morning and it seemed like the perfect day to stay inside, read the newspaper, complete the crossword puzzle, and keep an eye on the bird feeders.
And so I did. Among my feathered friends was a Tufted Titmouse that seemed to stand back and consider the offerings,
a Junco that chose the thistle,
and an Eastern Starling who made quick work of the suet. For those who aren’t fans of the Starling, this was the first of the season and actually four flew in today. I have to say I’m rather taken by their coloration.
Of course, not one to go unnoticed, a red squirrel came out of its tunnel below one of the feeders and looked about as if to say either, “Hey lady, where’d you hide the peanuts?” or “Hey lady, when are you going to come out and play?” I preferred to think it was the latter and so I headed out the door.
Because of the weather, I chose a baseball hat for headgear so the visor would keep the snow off my glasses. And then I did what I always do when wearing a baseball cap–I forgot to look up and bumped into the pergola. Boink.
But, the pain was momentary and so I continued on. Soon I realized I wasn’t the only one who had responded to the call to head outdoors. Quite often mammals leave behind sign that tells me who has passed by and I wasn’t disappointed for today I found signatures . . . of Eddie, Annie, Emma, and Veronica.
I wondered if I might find their creators. Was Eddie the mink that had slid and bounded just moments before and left fresh prints?
I followed his tracks in hopes of catching a glimpse and knew he’d passed under a fallen tree and traveled along a brook.
He’d also paused briefly beside an opening, but it appeared that rather than enter the water to forage as he could have done, he continued on. And so did I, meeting his tracks quite often, but never spying the mink that he was.
Any other tracks I spied were diluted by the precipitation, and so I turned my attention to the mushrooms that had donned their winter caps. From the false tinkerconk to . . .
hemlock varnish shelf,
and red-belted polypore, all appeared to have shopped at the same hat boutique.
Traveling through these woods on such a day with not a soul about made me ever mindful of the transition taking place as snow gave way to freezing rain and then sleet.
But it didn’t bother the female mallard that flew in and landed right below me.
Nor did it bother me. In fact, I loved it. I know the advent of frost heaves and potholes along our roadways are signs that spring is around the corner and even today’s weather was an indicator, but I don’t want winter to end just yet.
Neither snow, nor freezing rain, nor sleet . . . can keep the squirrel or me from digging our way out of our tunnels.