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March, Winter and Spring’s Arrivals
We’ve had a few arrivals here. I’m sure its happening everywhere – but I  reported last Winter that the first sighting of a Red Winged Blackbird was on February 27th. This year, I saw one or two on March 1st. Saw them almost every day since and tried to get a decent picture of them to no avail.
I’m not saying this is a great picture as I processed the ‘heck’ out of it but… its a fair representation of what has arrived.

Only a couple mind you – but the others will come soon enough. I believe then THEY will be the aggressors at the bird feeder once they get reinforcements – we’ll see. Right now the hierarchy stands at – 1 Red Headed Woodpecker, 2 Red Breasted Woodpecker, 3 Might be a tie between the Hairy Woodpeckers and the Blue Jays with the edge going to the Hairys,  then 4 possibly the Red Wnged Blackbirds.

About a week before the Red Winged Blackbirds showed up, the Sandhill Cranes arrived.
Scaled 3114
Apologies for shooting through  the pine tree. They were out at about  80 to 90 yards. I  wonder if this is the same pair that has been coming here for a few years a raising a clutch? I believe pairs reuse there previous geographic areas far as when they breed. Its been pleasant to see the young Sandhill Cranes mill about in the  back yard digging for dinner these past few years. They help keep the geese at bay (but I wish we had about 4 pairs take up camp here as the geese that come in just use numbers to over-run an area – my opinion).

The early arrivals seem to get me thinking of Spring at least. March is being typical ‘March’ – one day 50 to 60 degrees followed by a 20 to 30 degree one. But I believe Winter is waning. The sun’s rays are beaming stronger and the amount of daylight is increasing rapidly. Hopefully we will not get any more big ‘system’ style snow events – but we really don’t have any say in that matter. We’ll just deal with whatever we get wont we?

Till next  time  – UB


First entry for the Winter Blog – time for ‘UB’ to post something(after site rearrangement)

Everything Isn’t Quite As It Seems – if you’ve ever been injured, you can relate
Brrrr…. looking  outside I see that it’s snowing – again!
We’re past the half-way point – referred to as the cross-quarter day – Candlemas or ‘Ground Hog Day’. It didn’t actually happen on Ground Hog day – but it was close. Spring is coming.

We have a bird feeder out back and a suet holder that gets replenished more regularly than the one with just birdseed in it. The birds really must enjoy the high energy fat cake as they go through two blocks of it just about every 3 or 4 days here in Winter!


Upper left – Red Breasted Woodpecker, right top – Male Cardinal on ground with ‘friends’, right middle – Tree Sparrow, bottom right – Hairy Woodpecker, bottom left – Dark Eyed Junco (apologies for the pictures as they are not the best of focus or sharpness but the best I can do under the circumstances)

I’ve been enjoying watching the birds as they feed at our feeders. We get the regulars – Chickadees, Tuft Titmouse, Common Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Tree and Song Sparrow, Juncos, Male and Female Cardinals, the occasional Flicker, and for the first time since we moved here in 2007, two Red Headed Woodpeckers (RHW). The later has been a welcomed surprise!

Above: the mature Red Headed Woodpecker – not very good pictures, but hopefully I’ll have more opportunity to take better ones

I thought we only had one and, was confused as its head was rather brownish. I have learned that this is probably an immature bird. Weeks go by and I observed the RHW and thought that it must be filling in its feathers as its head seemed more red than before.  I was surprised to see one day, a RHW on the suet in back while the immature one was on the front suet blocks! We have two!

I once posed the question to an acquaintance – am I feeding the typical songbirds or the birds of prey by offering birdseed and suet? I have seen on more than one occasion where a Cooper’s or Short Shined hawk has swooped into the feeding area. Usually the songbirds vacate well in advance of such an attack. But sometimes I see feathers on top of the snow – a sign that  something more significant has transpired.

Why go on about birds? Well…..

…it happens.

This was elective though. A lesion in the tarsal dome of the left ankle. At least I think that’s what they called it – compounded with a ‘bunionette’ (little toe bunion). Now the lesion wasn’t a big deal. Arthroscopic surgery, two 1/4″ or so incisions, in the front of the ankle – BAM – done. But the bunionette – an entirely different animal! A rather long laceration along the base of the little toe down to, well – the bunionette. If I had not gotten the bunionette ectomy I think I’d be on my feet now – 5 weeks after surgery. But since I wanted to kill two birds with one stone (probably a bad idiom to use just after going  on and on about them and the hours of pleasure they give me now), I got both things addressed at the same time.

So now I am in a ‘Walking Cast’ that I am, under Doctor’s orders, NOT ALLOWED to walk on. Crutches or the walker (and occasionally the ‘peg-leg’) has been the modus operandi for the past 5 weeks and for the next 1 to 3  more. Time will tell just when I get to start to put ‘some’ weight on the left foot again.

As far as ‘Everything Isn’t Quite As It Seems’ – Winter snows blanket the region. However, the prospect of the next season is upon us. It may not be apparent right now but – Spring is right around the corner. Change is on the way. At least that’s what I’m looking forward to. While my cast is covering up a foot that is on the mend – the years to come of hiking up and down the mountains fishing in Northern PA is on the horizon. I’ve just got to get through the next few weeks – hopefully.

Winter is a time, if not for getting out and enjoying it (and you should), to prepare for the coming season. Whether it be an injury on the mend or tying some flies for the fly boxes – it’s time to get ready! Slate, Cedar and Pine Creek are getting ready – it just doesn’t seem like it.


It’s a beautiful day here (Michigan) – so this means that it will show up in Slate Run probably tomorrow – if it isn’t already there.

The Downy woodpecker is resident here. He stays all Winter – something I respect in a songbird. And while the Red-Winged Blackbird isn’t a resident, they sure make you think Spring is on the way. I saw the first one of the season arrive a few days ago.

I’m seeing 57 degrees here shortly before 1pm! If it isn’t already there Slate Run – give it a day  – it’s coming! But something we all realize is that this is probably a bit premature. Still you can’t blame a fella for pushing Spring a little bit!

(Saw the thermometer top out at 60 degrees today – they’re calling for heavy rain and possible 3″ –  6″ snow later Thursday…. …… at least it’s late Winter!)



4 thoughts on “Winter

    • Thank you! Doc said maybe next week – 2 pins get extracted and then, maybe, I can put a little weight on it. I’m thinking it may be another 2 weeks (the 8 week mark after surgery) as he has only said ‘maybe’ to the past inquires of how soon I’d be walking without crutches.
      The Red Bellied (but I think it’s actually called a Red Breasted – I’ll elaborate in another entry some time soon-ish) has been a regular for all the years we’ve been in Michigan. I saw the Red Headed out in the woods when I hunted years ago but not at the suet block next to the house – until this year. It is a real treat to see them. Thanks for the comments and kind words. UB


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