Sunday 24 March 2013. Morning Encounters in March Snow

At 6:15 this morning, it was cloudy, 32 degrees F, and just barely starting to get light.  Light snow fell and dusted the ground; the

Barely Light, with Snow

pavement was wet as I rolled out on Blue toward Meadowbrook Park. wondered how slippery it would be, but was glad it was early and that the streets were mostly free of traffic.  The predicted storm had not yet arrived, though did take a big flake in the left eye–not unpleasant, actually.

It was a comfortable ride on the usual route to Meadowbrook.

At Meadowbrook, not far from the Race Street parking lot, took a picture of the “wonky Christmas tree,” which looked like it was about

Wonky, Creeping Christmas Tree

to walk about and sneak up on people. Made me laugh to remember searching through so many trees at Moore Farm for a really straight one.

The park was unusually quiet, though there was a set of fresh human/canine tracks going over the rabbit bridge.  The light snow gave a nice definition to where Davis and McCullough creeks came together just upstream from the bridge.

Davis:McCullough w: Snow Accent

Stopped to see the clump of tree trunks just across Davis Creek, and the form of a deer materialized among the branches, not twenty feet in front of me.  It retreated silently as I tried to ready the camera for a photo.  Yes, the deer are common, but it is interesting to get close and observe them in some detail.  Though once again missed having a decent camera zoom.

Loved how the snow clung to the dried, weathering prairie plants.

Old Prairie Plants w:Snow Tops

At the Windsor/Vine bridge looked upstream was surprised to see a drake standing still on the shore, then a duck in the water. This time they stood their ground.  Couldn’t figure whether they’d been especially shy earlier in the year or especially bold now.

Ducks Standing Their Ground

Proceeded downstream to check the status of the chewed alders.  On the way saw more small groups of deer, quite close up (though not

Close Deer 24 March 13

so close to get a good photo without zoom, alas.

There were small mats of filamentous algae floating in the water near the shore at the chewed-alder site.  Wondered what prompted

Chewed Alder Site 24 Mar 13

their appearance.  The chew marks on the alders continue to darken. Was amazed to compare them to photos from January.

Chewed Alders Close 24 Mar 13

Wondered again where the beavers were and what they were doing. Maybe having young ones; I think this is the time if year when it happens.

Didn’t notice any red-winged blackbirds around Davis Creek but heard one near the chewed alders.

Followed the “small loop” downstream near the creek, through the Peg Richardson Wildflower Walk. Spotted the sculpture called “Connectors,” which I still can’t decide whether I like. The “figures” seem alive, alien, and perhaps menacing. Or is it playful?

Connectors Emerging, with Snow

At the Sensory Garden saw a little tree with what looked like an interesting distribution of clumps of snow, but it turned out to be a

Pussy Willows Looking Like Snow

pussy willow beginning to bloom.  Not a native plant, I don’t think, but a nice surprise.

Pussy Willows Close

Headed on Windsor Road westward just to Lincoln. The plowed field at the NW corner of Race and Windsor showed a nice winter view.

Snowy Field, Cloudy Morning

But, man, did my right  hand get cold from taking off the glove to take pictures!

Was glad to see the view of the little “valley” looking west on Windsor; an example of the subtle beauty of the central Illinois landscape.

Subtle Valley, Windsor Rd betw Race, Lincoln

 Also, it was fun to coast downhill.

And then, from the corner of my right eye, noticed a very large, strikingly handsome German Shepherd dog running parallel to me at a good clip, just on the other side of the fence (there was a fence, right???) around the stand of U of I trees. No way was I going to out-speed this dog; just clung to the possibility that the fence kept us apart and even that the whistling sound was its owner calling his or her obedient pet back to his or her side.  But the adrenaline was flowing.  Ah, another measurement of the limits of my bravery!  Oh well. Had the rest of the ride (into a bit of a north wind) to clear it from my system.

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