• By Dale Bowman

Tracks & a bridge to spring: Ramble with the Lady

A morning where I had to dig the felt-lined leather boots out of the stuff piled in the mud room (back steps).


The bridge to spring is filled with turnoffs.

And I mean turnoffs.

A week ago, we had 70s, then yesterday several inches of snow.

It just made for an odd Monday. Robins were hopping around all over trying to feed through snow. I am not the only one who noticed the robins in snow oddity. (Hello, Mike Skwira.)

The snow certainly shut down or dramatically slowed spring activity.

I did not really notice anything of a wild nature until Lady, our family's mutt, and I neared the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond. That's when I heard the song of a northern cardinal staking out the near top of a tree.

The calls of cardinal are pretty distinctive, as noted in recordings in

When I heard the cardinal, which I later found in its tree, I also noticed that mourning doves were calling on all sides.

Four Canada geese splashed down in the north pit as we neared the bridge over the neckdown between the two old clay pits. I still do not see any geese nesting, though I am pretty sure some are somewhere around the town pond.

The difference between winter snow and spring snow, well, one difference, is that there are far more tracks in spring snow.

Tracks I was able to identify or think I ID'ed included coyote, feral or free-ranging cat (those slaughtering machines), muskrat, mice, birds of unknown sorts, geese and what I think were raccoon.

Lady loves snow, well at least when it is not accompanied with temperatures of the sub-zero sort. She leaped all around and lugged around every stick she could mouth.

Back in town, the bank thermometer read 23 degrees. Yeah, that sounded and felt about right.

Back home, more birds than normal flushed from around my feeders as we neared our porch. Yesterday in the snow we were swamped with a plethora of birds: sparrows, starlings, cardinals, mourning doves, house finches and dark-eyed juncos. We do not get that many juncos, so that was neat to see.

This morning our daughter noticed the juncos in as she left for school.

It's good, even important, to notice the minutia of the natural world.

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