Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Walk in the woods

Yes!!! For the first time in over a month the weather was warm. Cabin fever was strong so I laced up my boots and decided to get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. While driving to my first destination, I had the feeling that today would be the day I would see my pileated woodpecker. The cards were in my favor and the good Lord blessed me with a sunny day to take it all in.

Soon enough, that enthusiasm vanished as the roads along the cemetery continued to be ice covered and the birds in hibernation. I looked at the dangerous path with a feeling of helplessness and frustration wondering what was over on the other side.

Enough is enough, I shouted to myself. I will no longer be prisoner to this rotten ice. Away I trudged through 8 inches of snow and into the deep woods. No signs of human footprints appeared within the snow and soon enough I was in my own little winter oasis. I was alone at last and had time to drink in all of the loveliness.

Deep in the woods came a clearing where I could hear babbling water. I walked carefully through the deep snow to see if there was anything over there that would be note worthy. The sun shone bright against the river and the water was so clear, I could see the pebbles lying beneath the water. The sound of a crow echoed in the distance and I could see a flock of water foul making there way down the river. PLEASE don't be mallards I thought to myself as I got my camera ready. Soon enough a family of common mergansers appeared. I was very excited because this was my second sighting of them. The first picture you see is over at the pond where most of the water is frozen. The picture directly above was taken along the Blackstone River.

I continued along my journey and could see something vibrant and red up in the distance. I knew it wasn't a cardinal and squinted my eyes to see if I could make out its form. Fungi is growing along this dead tree branch. I love how most are similar in pattern.

Suddenly I could hear the erratic call of a tufted titmouse. I looked up above the trees and there it was shouting to its mate that an intruder had discovered their hang out. I watched them holler at each other and at me and took a picture. Off I went to let them enjoy their Sunday in peace.

The chickadee gave me a warmer reception as it sang it's classic chick-a-dee-dee-dee call and hopped from tree to tree. I smiled as I followed it along its path and took a picture. The chickadee would stop from time to time to nibble on something on the branch. It would eat a bit and then stare at me. It gave me the same curious look as I gave him. Soon he looked at me one last time and took off to find more food.

My final destination was beneath an old, dead oak tree. The main part of the trunk was so decayed that I could look right into it and see the rotted wood and decaying leaves. I brushed my fingers along the inside of the tree feeling the rough bark and was sad to see a tree so lovely in this state. The birds must love it though as it provides shelter and bugs for eating.

I never did get to see my pileated woodpecker or beloved golden crowned kinglet, but it was still a wonderful day. It's amazing how a little warm weather can brighten ones spirit.


FAB said...

I can see you were delighted to get outside at long last plus many goog sightings even if the Pileated didn't show this time! A I always say 'patience will pay off'.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Oh Kallen--I know how much you enjoyed just being outside today. We've had a couple of days of beautiful weather also. Makes me just feel GOOD--so I know it does the same thing for you...

You got some nice pictures. I cannot believe that red lichen.. Yuk!!!! I'll post my visit from our Pileated for you SOON.


Kelly said...

I liked reading about your adventure. I'm going to try to find a Hooded Merganser this week. You've inspired me. They've been sighted in my area, and the ice is starting to melt.

Anonymous said...

It was a nice day wasn't it. I love the photo of the tree especially at it is so unexpected...The outdoors is healing...Michelle

NW Nature Nut said...

That titmouse photo is great! I am jealous, wish we had them here. Instead, I will watch your blog for cute pics of them. That fungus is great! What color!

Snowbabies said...

The Tufted Titmouse is beautiful, great shot!


Jayne said...

It was gorgeous here yesterday too Kallen. Almost 63 degrees! We had the back deck door open with the screen pulled. Glorious! Glad you had such a great time and saw some feathered friends. :c)

John Theberge said...

Nice photos, I love the bright color of the fungus. I have a titmouse or two coming to my feeder and I finally got a decent photo the other day that I'll be posting later this week. They're not as brave as the chickadees.

Shelley said...

I enjoyed your adventure Kallen! Wonderful shots! And I love how you shot that old oak tree - I could get a feeling for how big it was!

Rich said...

Have a good Monday. Getting outside in the sun is a good thing. You will find the birds you are looking for if you keep on searching.

Anonymous said...

I see your name pop up often among some of the blogs I read and thought I would visit today. It was fun to read about your adventure in the nicer weather. Your photos are beautiful. We have several different woodpeckers in our woods here in Georgia and I hope to get out and take some photos soon. Nice to visit such a lovely blog.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a nice walk in the woods. Thanks for taking us along through your great photographs.

Kim said...

Early Birder, I am trying to be patient and realize that I may not see it tomorrow, but I will see it by the end of this year.

Betsy, I so hope the warm weather continues for you. We are back to cold temps tomorrow and it is utterly depressing. Thanks for the info on Red Lichen. I had no idea what it was.

Woo Hoo Kelly! I hope you find one. I am starting to realize that there are not that many song birds out there that I have not seen before and the water birds are now my new fix. It's easier to find them now that a lot of the water is frozen. If you see unfrozen water, than there is a good chance you will see ducks, geese, swants, etc. Have fun!

Rambling. I loved that photo too. I was looking up at the tree and thought to myself that it woud make a nice photo and sure enough it did!

NW, I am LOLing because I am envious of all the birds you have. I guess the saying is true about the grass being greener!

Thanks Snowbabies. The lighting was great at the moment and the titmouse actually stood still for me for one tiny moment!

63 degrees Jayne!!! I would have been giddy!!

I can't wait to see the pics of the titmouse John! I agree they are more challenging to get a photo of.

Shelley, the tree was huge! With all of the decaying around the main base of the trunk, I am surprised it is still up!

Rich, I will keep the faith. It's just getting more and more difficult as the winter wears on. Spring and the birds cannot come soon enough for me!

Thanks for stopping my Mildred. I would love to see your photos of woodpeckers. It is so much fun to see what kinds of birds are in other geographical areas.

Thanks NC. I am learning how to use the camera slowly but surely. The one picture I can't wait to take is of the pileated. Until then, I have to go to your blog to get my fix. ;o)

Anonymous said...

good for you for getting out. I was office-bound all day. I did get a walk over to the main building and wondered why I brought my hat and gloves. It felt nice to be only a little cold. Say nice shooting. Love the Titmouse and the fungus.

Anonymous said...

It looks like your walk in the woods paid off. Nice shots.

Thanks for taking a look at my house finch in my birds blog.

Dawn Fine said...

my favorite photo is the fugus on that what an amazing beautiful.
Love the photos you are taking with your new camera...I cant seem to capture flitty little birdies with my point and shoot.
I am camera Jealous!

RuthieJ said...

Looks like you had a fun day. I'm glad you were able to get out and share it with us.

troutbirder said...

Some days are like that... nothing.We had a report of red polls and white winged crossbills in our county (very rare). Spent the whole day looking... again nothing.

Leedra said...

I am now to the Ks in my catch up since I left on vacation. Hopefully I will get through your post before I have to stop. If not I will return.

Looks like a very 'productive' day. Love the red fungi.

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