Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bare Ground! LOTS of Bare Ground!

 Just look at all these wide open fields, completely bare of snow!  At last I could walk on the grassy bare ground, the soil gently yielding beneath my feet, as I made my way along the Wilkinson Trail at the Saratoga National Historical Park near Stillwater.  Several days with warm sun and above-freezing temperatures have finally melted (or evaporated) the heaps and heaps of snow I thought would never leave.  There was still enough covering the trail in the shade of the woods to remind us of how thick that snow-cover had been, but out in the open under a wide blue sky, not a trace of it remained.

There was not another soul sharing this trail with me today, except for what sounded like hundreds of chirping birds hiding among the boughs of this big old White Pine.  It amazes me how well birds can hide from view, for although I searched these boughs with my binoculars, not a single bird could I actually lay my eyes on.  But take my word for it, that tree was full of birds.  Happy sounding birds, seeming to celebrate this beautiful blue-sky day.

There were lots of other happy-seeming birds on the Hudson River, including these Bufflehead ducks, one female surrounded by a group of males.  I wonder if she had already selected her mate, since the males, although flapping their wings now and then, were not performing their marvelous head-bobbing, crest-spreading courting display.  This is such a pretty little duck, and one we don't get to see very often, except as they stop to rest on our local waters as they make their way north to nest in hollow trees near northern lakes.

I saw lots of migrating ducks yesterday, too, when my friend Sue and I visited the Hudson at South Glens Falls.  Unfortunately, they were too far out on the river for me to get any good photos of the Scaups, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, and Ring-necked Ducks that were mixed in with flocks of Canada Geese and Mallards.  A majestic Osprey flew in, too, and perched for quite a long while on a snag overlooking a backwater.

It was there in South Glens Falls, in a soggy spot along the Betar Byway, that we finally found our first flower of spring, the Skunk Cabbage in full pollenaceous bloom.  That makes it official: Spring is really, truly here at last!


The Furry Gnome said...

Sometimes the birds are just like that here too. The trees sound full of squeaking birds - goldfinch I suspect, but I can't spot a one. Stopped to look for skunk cabbage today, but still buried under the snow.

threecollie said...

Never thought brown could look as good as it does this spring. Great bird shots!

Raining Iguanas said...

Love the Wilkinson Trail. Thank you for reminding me to get over there. I think I have a photo of that same majestic pine.