Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't put away the stocking cap

Yesterday - official high of 64 degrees. I took a walk around my neighborhood in shorts and a t-shirt.

Today - cut that number in half. When I went running this afternoon, it was 32 with a wind chill of 18 (a rather crisp north wind...brrrr!). This is why I don't put away the winter running gear until May... ;-)

Yours truly, bundled up on today's run - what a difference a day makes

In spite of the cold snap, I had a very nice 5 mile run. I didn't see a soul today and had the trails to myself. I did, however, add a new spring bird arrival to my list. I counted a flock of 32 common mergansers congregating in the open water of my local lake. It is wonderful to see some of the waterbirds returning.

Even more exciting, I found a northern shrike along the trail near my favorite meadow, sitting on top of a small tree. Known as the "Butcherbird," they feast on insects and other small birds, often impaling them on twigs or barbed wire for a later snack. I stopped running was no more than 20 feet away. The shrike did not fly and stayed put for well over a minute. It was my best ever look at this somewhat local and not very often seen bird. This is not actually a spring migrant, however. The northern shrike comes down here for the winter. They breed in the northern areas of Canada. Such a cool bird, and a great find.

Needless to say, there was not a songbird to be seen anywhere near the shrike. The little birds know what the shrike is all about!

Until next time,

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