Birds of Winter

Tried to make up to the dogs for not taking them for hikes during last week by taking them into town with me on Friday. Jessie started barking before we got to the end of the driveway, and she and Rowdy barked or whined at each place on Owings Creek road where they know there are dogs. My nerves - no wonder I have second thoughts about bringing them along some days! I was headed for Canyons Health Club and some exercise, and more importantly the reward of some time in the steam room. Jessie was happy to be able to bark at everything outside the car walking or biking that may or may not have had a dog alongside, and Rowdy for the most part took a nap.

On the way home, I headed for the Hamilton city park off Main street next to the river, and as soon as I made that turn the dogs got excited. It's like the Post Office for them with "messages" on the trees and bushes, and I notice parallels when I see humans meet and greet at the P.O.

I've done a journal entry on Friday evening's events and "Rowdy's Romp", so on to Saturday and the subject of this entry. After some housekeeping, I changed clothes and took the dogs for a hike, first heading downhill from the cisterns. The trail that Howard put in with the ASV has a lot of deer traffic on it, and although the cistern overflow is now frozen, the surface of the ice is close to the top of the bucket. Following Howard's trail, I turned left/North and followed some deer tracks across the draw and up to the old Jeep skid trail on Monaco's property. Going uphill from there, I paused and looked around at my tree limbing work from early last Fall, and then headed towards Uncle Al's.

Not too far along, I was surprised by a number of mourning doves flying out of a group of trees in front of me. We've had what seems to be at most three to four doves at the feeder for the last couple of years, but I've never seen what looked like a couple of dozen birds in a group, and certainly didn't expect these numbers in winter. This morning I watched one dove perched on the top of the feeder puff up and spread its wings wide to move off a Clark's Nutcracker. More than once I have seen one or two of the doves choosing to roost on the top of the feeder, so I think they consider this their territory.

My other bird discovery, one I hadn't seen before, earlier in the week was a Winter Wren hopping around on the deck, investigating the dog bed. On the way back to the house on my Saturday hike, I watched another bird flying low between tree trunks and saw it also was a Winter Wren. So as I've seen before, each season and year brings different numbers and species to watch.