We've been having some unseasonably mild weather here the past few days and it really has felt as if we may get an early Spring. Normally I would welcome this but of course we got an early Spring last year and we all know what happened.....raging fires and chaos.
I put this out of my mind however, and hit the Birchwood Trail system. It's rare that I go there this early in the year. The ground is usually still a nightmare of ice and snow.....and it was but I was willing to risk a little bit of a slide in order to be able to get outside and get rid of a little cabin fever. Last year I went out around this exact same time and saw a couple of bird species I don't usually see until much later on in the Spring so that temptation was there as well.
At any rate, I managed to make it down the first steep slope without any problems.
It was noticeably cooler at the bottom of the small valley. While there was some water from Conn creek creeping up along the bank, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was still thanking myself for deciding to wear boots rather than my running shoes.
I did about a 3 km walk. Nothing too strenuous and I did have to loop back around to avoid some ice on a particularly steep section of trail but I did manage to see nine bird species which isn't too bad considering the time of year. It took me awhile before I really spotted anything and at one point I had resigned myself to just a quiet walk in the woods. But when they started showing up, things got interesting fast....my first northern shrike, 3 gray jays, the ubiquitous magpie, a quick overflight of waxwings, and a raven with some sort of stick fetish were among the highlights.