Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Winter Wet!

Ah, back home for Christmas! It is always fun to return to your childhood home, especially with the nostalgia of the holiday season. Add in 18 inches of snow on Christmas Eve, and the magic of Christmas is in full effect. Regrettably the snow was measured in feet at my Sister's home in Iowa, so the holiday focus has shifted from childhood exuberance about presents and Santa to good times and relaxation with my parents, Aunt and Uncle, and cousins. All of the present exchanges are on hold until my sister's family can make it into town, so working a few jigsaw puzzles and just catching up while watching the snow fall and the birds visit the feeders has been the order of the days.

This morning after a great Christmas breakfast I was off to break a trail through the snow to Mt. Normandale Lake Park. Unexpectedly the snow changed over to rain, and I was in for an increasingly strenuous, soggy, postholing adventure through the snow.
For the first hour I didn't see a bird besides Chickadees, and didn't even dig my camera out from the dry shelter of my coat. Eventually I reached the woods, where the steady rain/sleet/snizzle was broken by the trees, and exchanged for constant large drops everywhere. Despite the damp the walk was great. It was warm and calm enough to stay pleasant, and even with poor light I was able to see some fun birds.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers seem to be my constant traveling companions, greeting me wherever I visit east of the plains. I also have never seen as many Blue Jays as I did today, there were multiple groups of four as I moved along. I had Northern Cardinals as well, but despite their bright colors none were captured well enough for posting here. I did however get a poor shot of a passing Red-tail Hawk. Shooting up in low light with falling snow is a bit of an effort in futility, but the shot below after a bit of brightness adjustment shows the Minnesota version of the species that is everywhere in Colorado. A bit more of a treat to see this one in suburbia.

Continued Happy Holidays to all!

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