Saturday, March 07, 2009

15 miles with the birds

A fairly decent morning here in the metro. Temps were around 26 degrees and overcast, but there was a pretty stiff breeze out of the northwest, creating a wind chill around 17. Not bad. At least it was above zero! :)

I ran 15.5 miles today in a route that took me all over the northwest metro (I had orignally mapped out a 15 miler but missed a road due to a road sign that was absent, so I had to backtrack, which added another .5!). This was a new route that I had planned so I would not have to do any repetitious loops around the lake, just for some variety.

It ended up being a really fun run. I explored some new areas where I had never run before, found some new trails, an honest to goodness old farm road in the middle of the suburbs that I did not know existed, and saw many birds. Good stuff! I think I am going to change up my running routes more often. With the network of trails and bike paths I have in my area, there is no reason not to.

I saw some more interesting attire as well. I met another runner in a gray hooded sweatshirt and long basketball shorts. Not terribly out of the ordinary for running gear , except for (as mentioned earlier) the fact the wind chill was in the teens. Brrrr! Just watching this guy run made me feel cold!

Without question, the bird activity is picking up. I am certain that some actual migratory robins have arrived. Yes, you do see a few that actually spend the winter here if they have adequate food supply, but I saw some large flocks in my neighborhood yesterday, and also saw more along my route today. I think those who migrate are making their way back.

I spotted large numbers Canada geese today as well, so they appear to be on the move. These are some of the first I have seen since fall. A number of them were flying overhead, and I saw a few dozen congregating in the open water of a creek that flows into a lake.

The highlight today was a flock of at least a couple of dozen cedar waxwings. These nomadic birds were busy raiding a small tree of its fruit right next to the trail, so I got an up close look. A solitary red spot on their wing differentiates the cedar waxwing from its cousin, the Bohemian. They are sleek, beautiful birds, and it was a real treat to see them.

Of course, just as I am getting excited about spring and the arrival of new birds, the weather forecast has us expecting around an inch of snow tomorrow (they backed off of the 1 to 3 predicted earlier). But that's not all! The forecast for Tuesday is sounding even more ominous with a potential winter storm brewing. Ugh! Oh well, at least daylight savings time is upon us so it will stay light out later!

Tonight's dinner; homemade pizza with pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, and mixed olives marinated in hot peppers. Three kinds of cheese as well; fresh mozzarella, asiago, and fresh crumbled goat. Yum.

Pizza! Pizza!

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