Sunday, October 6, 2013

Breakneck Hill

Day Two of the hardwood floor installation followed by an afternoon of running errands and catching up on household chores.  Physical labor is definitely not my thing.  Thank goodness it was a rainy weekend, or I really would have had trouble staying motivated.   It's hard to face another week at work without some outdoor time, so once the groceries were put away, and in spite of the weather,  I drove over to Breakneck Hill to take a hike.

No cars were in the parking lot.  Low, grey clouds rushed across the sky above the meadows.  It looked like it could rain at any moment.  This was good for reducing the likelihood of running into any other walkers (and dogs), and since I left my camera at home and had a rain jacket, I didn't care.

As I climbed the first hill, three Blue Jays squawked in the apple orchard.  Some sparrows squeaked from the brush on the other side of the electric fence.  Everything smelled fresh and the air was cool after almost a full day of rain showers.  I could feel my mood improving as I walked.  Two American Crows cawed from atop the maple trees in the meadow.  As I started down the hill, several of the oreo cows (Belted Galloways) were gathering near the intersection of the trails.   I often wonder if they mistake me for their caretaker and are hopeful I am bringing fresh food, or if they are just curious.

A House Finch serenaded me from an apple tree.  I was happy to guess its identity from its song and then confirm it with my binoculars.  As I climbed the next hill, I heard more sparrows squeaking and then Eastern Bluebirds chirping.  Had a nice view of several Eastern Bluebirds, still showing up brightly against the gathering dusk.

As I made the turn to head back towards the parking lot, sparrows began lifting off from the trail in front of me as I descended the hill.  I think they were Chipping Sparrows, but by this time the light was so poor that identifying them was not possible.  I also spotted a Northern Flicker in a tree which I was able to identify by its silhouette and confirm in my binoculars.  On the way up the next hill, I spotted a couple of warblers in one of the trees.  That's as far as I'll get with ID on those.  I think I need a stronger pair of binoculars.  These just aren't giving me a very good view.  At the top of the hill, where there's a large circle cut out of the grass, about 50 sparrows took off as I approached.

It was a lovely walk.  I retrieved my sense of peace and was glad to have the fresh air and exercise and am now ready to face another week of work after a weekend full of more work than birds or butterflies.

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