Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hitting the Icy Trails

I decided to thumb my nose at the January cold today and headed to one of my favorite local powerlines to attempt my first official trail run under snow and ice as I am getting very tired of running the streets and miss the trails. The snow we received a couple of days ago was just enough to leave a thin layer of snow and ice which could prove to be dangerous if one isn't equipped with proper traction devices for their shoes, which I had so off I went for exercise and solitude after the hectic week this week. I made my way through woods and out to the powerlines and throughout the 1/4 mile or so I didn't see or hear one bird until I got to some clearing and who is it that I see?
Why the Great Black-backed Gull of course, who did you expect? HA, of course I had to stop my run for a picture as I have never seen any gulls at the powerlines before as it just isn't their habitat really, or so I thought until now. ;-)
So up I ran through the snow and the sun shone bright as the local Red-tailed Hawk decided to fly by which was indeed a welcome site as I hadn't seen it for well over a month now so it's nice to see that its still around and will hopefully nest in the same area this year so I can keep my eye on them again.
One thing I have to say about trail running in the snow is that its a lot more challenging than regular trail running so I spent about 1/3rd of my time either hiking up hills or stopping to check out a bird or two, but all in all, it was a lot of fun and something I am looking forward to again when there isn't enough snow on the ground to snow shoe it. The best thing about this particular area is the fact that I went 3.2 miles and didn't see a soul which is nice for a change.
Oh and for those of you wondering what it is I had on my feet to avoid slipping, here they are and they are called Microspikes. One of the best winter investments I made this year as they work incredibly well and I would suggest those of you who hike or even bird outdoors to consider buying to avoid slipping on ice. I actually carry them in my bird bag should I ever need them while birding, though I have been lucky thus far and haven't had to pull them out yet, but you never know!
And of course, I did one of my favorite things to do while trail running which is birding by ear, and I could hear many American Robins like the one above who was part of a flock of at least 70.
And my ear perked up immediately when I heard the much missed call of the Northern Mockingbird which made me stop in the midst of a run to try and locate which I was able to do eventually. This was one of two I would see on my run today who was mixed in with the robins.

Take care all!


Rich said...

Kim, I am so glad you got out for a run.

A New England Life said...

Hi Kim,

We had a good sized flock of Robins in our yard today looking for berries. I really feel for them. If I were a Robin I would head South for the winter!

You are such a brave lady, out there running the trails all by yourself. Not my cup of tea I tell ya, especially with the brutal temps.

I keep seeing RT hawks around here too!

Dan said...

Kim, it's nice to see you didn't let the cold keep you from getting in a trail run. Microspikes are the best thing for winter trail runs.

Ali said...

Sounds like you had a good time. I haven't had a single bird besides starlings and house sparrows in my backyard all winter (ok, I did see a couple goldfinches, but they haven't been back for a while). Today though, I just happened to look up in one of our 2 big maples and I saw a little woodpecker, I am assuming it was a Downy. I was so excited! I have had suet out all winter but no one has found it. Hopefully soon now! I even had a dream last night that I had a couple nuthatches! I haven't seen one of those in such a long time, doubt they would be attracted to our yard with its sparsity, but the woodpecker was a lovely surprise after that dream =) Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Laurel said...

I won't see the robins here until April! They are always a welcome sight in the spring.

The Early Birder said...

Fresh air and excercise...great but I think I'll stick to walking Kim.


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