Snowcover? We don't need no steenkin' snowcover...
...and I am one happy dude.
It was chilly, a brisk 18 degrees, but with the sun shining it felt like 28, which in Wisconsin is t-shirt weather. I had a long-sleeve merino wool shirt and pullover and that was it, and frankly, I felt fine so long as I kept moving.
Cardinalis cardinalis (male)
The birds were out in force. Pine Siskins were everywhere, but of course I couldn't get any pictures of them because they were, as per their appelative nature, hiding in the pines. I did get a decent shot of a few Northern Cardinals, as they are twitterpated and singing their hearts out.
Cardinalis cardinalis (female)
So I walked around for a half-hour or so, listening for birdsong and feeling joyful that at least some of the creatures of the woods were optimistic about Spring coming on in a few weeks. Red-Breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) ahnk-ed their way up and down an old beech looking for something tasty. They're a favorite bird of mine, and there are always a fair number of them in the silver maples in our front yard come April.
Just standing in the sun listening to to the birds was food for my brain and my heart. The buds that were already formed were sure signs that we had turned the corner, and after a few days of 60s and 70s the Arboretum would be a riot of color and scent. I like it when that happens.
As I was walking back to the Element (and the dog) I heard a crunching, two sets of feet...turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), poking along through the light snow cover scratching for frozen crabapples. They didn't see me at first, but turkeys are not easy to stalk, so I just waited for them to come to me, and they did.
It was a pair, and the male was disturbed by my presence, even though his behavior didn't change all that much. His head was a dead giveaway - his skin turned bright blue and his wattle turned brighter red. Turkeys telegraph their emotions with their skin color, and the change is pretty amazing, kind of like an octopus.
As the happy couple passed me and took off for the woods, I took off for the car. It wasn't a long walk, but it's definitely going to be something I do more of moving into the Spring. After all, ephemerals are just around the corner. Crocuses and pasqueflowers are only weeks away. At that point I shall become insufferably cheerful and will post all sorts of minutae about Asarum canadense, Sanguinaria canadensis, and a bunch of other canadensids. And Dicentra cucullaria.