First Cross Country Ski: With Evening Grosbeaks!
Sunday, November 25, 2012
After a very warm week, with temperatures of 14C Thursday (DH actually played golf, and claimed to have enjoyed it!), snow has been falling here since late Friday. And today I got out for my first cross country ski.
The snow was wet and slushy, caking under the skis every couple of strides . . . but I still loved it.
Slogging up the hill towards my car, I saw on the horizon a flock of fifty or sixty chunky looking "starlings" wheeling in the sky, then settling into a leafless maple not far away. It's too late in the year for starlings, and I stopped to listen. Yes! The distinctive "windchime" voices of evening grosbeaks! Like small crystal bells ringing, so convivial!
I truly love these colourful yellow, black and white birds with their thick strong beaks. They're almost as big as a robin, but with colouring more like a goldfinch and a similar undulating flight. A single grosbeak can crack open and eat about 100 sunflower seeds in a matter of minutes . . . so you can guess what a flock can do to a bird feeder in a half hour or so!
It's probably been a decade since I last saw a flock -- generally in early or late winter, since they always seem to be "passing through" rather than consistent winter inhabitants in my part of the world.
Of course I didnt' have a camera with me . . . and these aren't my pictures or sound recordings. But I've put in a couple links below in case you'd like to see or hear a flock of grosbeaks.
And after our ski, soaking wet with our efforts, we headed to a cross country ski shop to pick up some special klister wax just in case it's slushy for the next ski. DH has already stripped down and cleaned the skis . . .