Getting Lost… But not really.

Lolli and I were invited to go on a lengthy hike at Allegany State Park today. That kind of invitation is difficult to resist. As I was getting my pack ready, Lolli’s teeth were chattering in anticipation. She just loves to go on adventures.

We are in a state of transition between winter and spring. The weather forecast showed morning temperatures in the 20s with the promise of highs in the 50s. As we drove out, the depth of snow varied greatly depending on elevation and which direction the sun hit the curves of the hill (or ditch). We selected Holt Run for our hike and intended to try to hike the old road all the way to Cricks Run. Yeah. That didn’t happen.

Here’s what the day looked like at Holt Run:


And here’s how the dogs reacted to it:

Glock: Let’s play stick! Lolli: Let’s just run!

We followed another hiker’s footprints over to the edge of a beaver pond:


Along the trail, there were lots of beech and birch branches which had been buried. It looked like the warmer temperatures had melted them and released them from their frozen prison:


I should mention that Terry noticed them first and insisted that I give him credit as my creative consultant.

Lots of colors and textures caught my eye along the way.

Yellow Birch:

Branch Shadows on Rocks:

Ice in the creek:


There were plenty of tracks in the snow. Lots and lots of deer, which I didn’t photograph.  We were hoping to see bear, because we have on this trail before, but we didn’t.  I think these might be fisher tracks:


And these might be coyote:


I have no idea what critter climbed out of this:


We weren’t lost.  We consulted the map and we know exactly where we were… it just isn’t where we intended to go.  We eventually found the “road” we intended to hike, but we were too tired to try. We paid special attention to the landmarks and hope to be able to find it next time.

It was a beautiful day to be outside. Lolli is snoring on the couch.


Banding a Little Screechie

Screech owl in nest box

Photo by Jeff Tome

There has been a Eastern Screech Owl using the kestrel box in the Audubon parking lot all winter. Sometimes, if the sun shines, we see him poking his head out. Yesterday, as Jeff was leaving work, he noticed the fluffy face and sent a text message to Don Watts, a licensed bird bander, who drove right over.

Being a considerate soul, Don checked the box before coming inside to interrupt our work.  To keep the owl from leaving, he stuffed one of his hundreds of ball caps into the opening.


A hat in the entrance keeps the owl from exiting.

Sarah, Katie, and I were all too happy to take a break from our duties to meet the little guy face to face!


Don climbs the ladder to retrieve the owl.

Katie got a new camera recently. She was trying the video function – making Don, Sarah, and the owl into movie stars!


Until Katie posts the movie somewhere, you’ll have to be content with my stills:






After returning the little guy back to the box, Sarah and Katie returned to work while Don and I checked two other boxes, hoping to find the owl we banded last fall. Sadly, both of the other boxes were empty. I hope that just means the other guy is resting elsewhere.

Just another day at Audubon. Don’t I have a great job?

ANP Logo

May 31 – June 2, 2013

On another note, I’ve been working on the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage website. I still have a lot to finish up with the program descriptions and leader bios… but it’s getting there! Click on over and consider putting it on your calendar!!

The Vernal Equinox

Well, it’s spring.  And since I worked Sunday, I took part of today off to enjoy it.  Here was my mode of transportation:


Still, I was determined to look for signs of spring.



The dogs looked too:


Well, one of the dogs did. The other just wanted to play stick:




No, Glock… We’re just walking now.




Well, I guess you could count this as a sign of spring:


Happy Spring, everyone!