04 December 2011

Winter Wren Wonderland of Wood Creek

It was a winter wonderland of snow and trees on Saturday morning in the intercity. Fat and fluffy flakes of snow fell without fail. It was a fine time to stroll without finesse through some parklands with no particular focus.

Photography perhaps. Watching winter birds among bits of urban wild? It was really just walking a ways while wandering through the fresh landscape of muted colors smothered by the substantive beginnings of a wet snowfall.

Chirps and muted colors of a boisterous pair of cardinals were the first feathered friends found. Then the cacophony of crows on the course where duffers typically roamed.

Further along, a really boisterous Red-bellied Woodpecker was noted because its rowdy noise was really raucous in the snow, which at times seemed wet enough to be rain.

Snow fell. Snow gathered upon my warm garb, and the flakes were flicked off again and again, with a furious force.

Then a hesitant pause, and a stop of sheer delight due to particular listening.

What was that sound among the fallen trunks, limbs and stems gathered in the waters of Wood Creek? Listening closely, its source was obviously a feathered mite of a wren in the winter. It was the wonderful - and well-known to a few - Winter Wren.

It skulked clandestinely along the creek, though clearly conveying its situation on a Saturday morning. Might there be more among these woods where this special species may speak to an attentive spectator?

After enjoying a big flock of Dark-eyed Junco foraging along the damp recreational trail - mostly free of runners or ragged dogs but free of a snowy cover - the nearly frigid foray went forthwith.

Shadow Lake was sublime, as belies its special specter supplied by springs especially super-duper for species of different seasons. Wild, wandering waterfowl like the duck weed which makes the water green.

This day was no different. Dallying on the dizzying heights of a daily route for park-goers, there were several mallards magnificent in their colors and manners. Within the wild birds, paddling mildly atop the warm waters from park springs, was a single wild Wood Duck, of the female sort.

Fantastically featured, this lazily floating female is the latest date for this species at the languid waters. During 2011, there have been several late dates, but previously there was a drake and the subtly-colored female. During the past two visits, only a female Wood Duck has continued to occur, sublime in its coloration as it continues to convey its consideration of changes in seasons which her presence conveys.

Dominated by a smug snow but without any duress, the day did not drag along but continued to develop. The park ravine was not remiss. Drivers about during the storm were not dangerous while crossing Dodge Street.

To the north, trees among the snow and against the drab sky conveyed the typical scene of the sunless sort of weekend. Further into the western edge of the parkscape, fallen limbs - gathered in a wanton manner - were thrown hither and yon, during a working pause to destruct an unwanted construct created by miscreants.

Wild flakes were still falling unfettered in a their own fashion. The woods were wild with white strewn everywhere in a continuous manner while the walk-about was underway. While working a limb ready to drop wantonly upon any walker, another Winter Wren was where it was expected in another place along northern Wood Creek, in another park place with the wild setting suitable for this species.

Winter conditions prevailed at this place and in the nearby neighborhood. There was nearly a confrontation with an out-of-control conveyance of the motorized sort careening off Underwood Avenue.

Wet and white with obdurate snow and seeming to be sort of a nearly covered snow person, the way of the outdoor day soon ended, safe and warm someplace else.