Arose on this my birthday to four inches of powdery snow. Helped Bradley shovel out his snow plowing customers. Knowing that I would miss the starting time for the photo hike, took my time in preparation.
Making my way to the MAC I observed three different Red-tailed Hawks on McDonald Road. One posed for me before it flew off.
Arrived at the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) a little after 10 AM. While putting on my snowshoes, Chris, the education director, pointed out the route that Naturalist Dave Spier was using this morning.
Passing the bird feeders two Butler Shock trustees who had just finished clearing the sidewalks of snow said Hello. One inquired about the birds that I might see today. Good question - told him that he would see more than I by standing quietly near the feeders. Heading towards the woods photographed a milkweed pod.
Once in the woods diverted from Dave's trail and headed to the observation deck. Due to the lack of wind the deck provided a vantage point to view the snow covered complex.
Went along the frozen pond and then into the woods. Caught up with Dave and his companions, Stephan (Seneca Falls) and Mario (Lyons) at the Wolf Tree. Dave was explaining how he was framing a shot by using a tree as the border for the left edge of the picture.
Since Dave and his party had already been out for over an hour they headed back to the center. I continued on the trail.
Climbing the hill by the pit, paused to take some photos.
The depth of the snow on the slope caused a wardrobe malfunction - my left snowshoe came off. Refastening the strap to my boot continued up the hill and out into the open field. The lack of wind helped my camera grip.
Returning to the center joined Dave at the window which overlooks the bird feeder. We observed a Black-capped Chickadee, 2 Tufted Titmouse, 1 White-breasted Nuthatch, 1 American Tree Sparrow, 3 House Finch, and 12 American Goldfinch.
But the highlight for me and a great birthday present was Dave's identifying and sharing the characteristics of the four Common Redpoll that were visiting the feeders today.
Leaving the MAC went home by an alternate route. Driving south on Rt. 89 just north of the Rtes. 5 & 20 junction saw the familiar Red-tailed Hawk. When I stopped the car it left its perch on a telephone pole flew onto the branch of a tree. After posing for me it went southeast into the woods.
Upon returning home YNN news announced that there was a fire at the Sherwood Inn. Joan took me to Doug's Fish Fry for my birthday dinner. According to Mark, Doug's owner, the Sherwood fire was under control and damage was minimal.