Friday, December 11, 2009

A Scene Painted By Snow Transcends Time

Taking a walk through woods that have been freshly coated with snow can be a magical experience. When I see certain paintings of snow scenes, I can imagine what it would be like to really be there. As I walked through Meshomasic State Forest on Sunday it almost felt as though I was part of a painting.
As the sun began to climb higher in the morning sky, the water and ice-coated branches sparkled with dazzling light. My mind was suddenly filled with memories going all the way back to my childhood. I can vividly remember where I was and who I was with during some of the snowfalls from past years. Many of those people have long since passed on but I wish they could be here to enjoy this morning with me. Soon the snow melted away from the trees and the memories faded away.
I walked further into the woods, passing several people along the way. One couple, with British accents, approached me and asked if I was a birder. I told them I was,-sort of- and they proceeded to tell me about a bird that had been hiding in a brushy area near the reservoir. It had been making a two-note call that started low and then quickly ascended to a second higher note. I guessed it might be an Eastern Towhee and showed them its picture in the field guide. They thanked me and headed on their way. I came across a pack of screaming Blue Jays that sounded like they were having a family squabble. I spotted several cardinals and goldfinches. A Common Raven rolled in the wind and croaked as it passed over the reservoir. A Red-tailed Hawk emerged from the treeline and gave several assertive flaps, trying to gain elevation before sailing out of sight. The birds which captured my attention the most were the sparrows. Seeing them pose on bare tree branches allows for a much better view than trying to find them in overgrown fields. The American Tree Sparrow -(above photo) -was sporting a handsome rusty cap and distinct bi-colored bill.
Sparrows seem to love brush piles and I found a big brush pile at Brownstone Riverfront Park in Portland. They cleared some trees near in preparation for the new boat launch and park that's being built there. Song Sparrows rarely fail to respond to pishing and the one in the photo was no exception.
When I checked through my notes I noticed that I had only seen a handful of species but sometimes there is more to birding than just watching birds.

22 comments:

madcobug said...

LOve that first picture, I don't see how small birds make it in such cold weather. Helen

eileeninmd said...

Looks like a nice walk. Very pretty scenic shots and a nice bird.

Jayne said...

What beautiful snowy pictures Larry. :c) There is nothing more serene than seeing the birds in that setting.

Larry said...

Helen-Thanks-I know that some birds are able to slow their metabolism down at night to deal with the cold better.

Eileen-thanks for stopping by.

Jayne-I agree, especially on a winter day when there isn't much wind and plenty of sun.

Chris said...

Fantastic post, and I do prefer the last picture ;-) Question of feeling I guess!

WR said...

Hi Larry ~ lovely photos. The snowy pathway is so serene looking.

matthew houskeeper said...

These are nice. I particularly like the top two photos.

Larry said...

Thanks-Well you do live in Iceland so maybe snow and ice isn't a big deal to you-although after looking at the climate for Iceland it isn't as bad as it sounds.

WR-It was a serene as it looked.

Lana Gramlich said...

Yes...the freshly fallen snow is so fantastically beautiful. I remember going out some nights to experience it under the full moon. Even got my car stuck in a ditch once, but it was still so beautiful.
A shame it can't look like that & be 70F at the same time!

Larry said...

Lana-Sounds like a story. A bonfire should take care of the temperature issue.

Erica Houskeeper said...

Wonderful photos. Those snowy branches are really pretty and the birds are precious. What a great day you had out there.

Take care,
Erica

forestal said...

Wonderful post and photos Larry

dan

Chris Petrak said...

Dead on right - much more to birding than just watching birds - it is focus, attuning to environment, & being - thanks

Hilke Breder said...

Enjoyed reading your post on walking in fresh snow, and pishing sparrows in the brush pile. They are so hard to photograph. Love your photos of the Tree Sparrow and Song Sparrow

LauraO said...

Larry - enjoyed this snowy walk with you. We don't get that much snow here, and that's been OK with me. Also very nice tree sparrow! Haven't seen one of those in years....

Larry said...

Erica-Thanks-Snow works wonders on branches.

Chris-thanks-well said.

Hilke breder-Most birds are hard to get photos of it seems-thanks.

Laura-Thanks-I liked The Tree Sparrow too. nice markings on it.

Kim said...

Love your American Tree Sparrow picture! Funny how weather can trigger memories of the past. Winter storms were the best when young because it meant now school, and just play. I remember those days well!

Ruth said...

I would love to jump into that first picture. Our winter birds are here too but I have yet to introduce myself to them this year :-(

troutbirder said...

That first snowfall is magical indeed and you captured the spirit beautifully... thanks.

Patrice said...

So winter has indeed come to your woods. Thank you, Larry.

Jason said...

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I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between each out. Please let me know if this is okay.

Jason
ThatVACATIONfeeling.com

Kathiesbirds said...

Larry,the beginning of this post just drew me in. I, too know what it is like to be in the silent woods in winter and feel like part of the painting. You said it so well. The pics are lovely also.