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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 . . .


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  • NANCY-
    What a wonderful way to enjoy the season.

    I love the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My hubby is the bird lover in the family... I just get curious. A predator bird perched on our birdfeeder scaring away the the little chickdee, titmouse, and even the squirrel. It looked a little like this:

    1972 days ago
    Sounds wonderful!!! Grosbeaks are lovely birds!! (Not to mention how much fun Xcountry can be!)
    1972 days ago
    1972 days ago
    I am so jealous - I would love to live somewhere where I could go XC skiing easily through the winter. One day!
    Enjoy every opportunity - make up for those of us who have to drive over 2 hours in a very short snow season.
    1972 days ago
    What a beautiful bird and their song is gorgeous! I can see why you enjoyed it so much!

    1972 days ago
    After not being able to XC ski AT ALL last winter, I'm hoping that we'll get some snow down here and I'll be able to do the one form of cardio my knee can handle that gave me a runner's high...

    So, yeah. Kinda jealous, actually. LOL


    Yeah, wrong kind of skier. But my friends DO like to do crazy hills on the long boards...

    Also kind of hoping to get back on the single board - here's hoping I don't tear my shoulder again!
    1972 days ago
  • 3016DEBRA
    Sounds fantistic! emoticon
    1972 days ago
    So glad you are back skiing. I know you love it. And I know it burns lots of calories and it a good fitness activity.

    Your description was just lovely. I enjoyed the chime sounds and video clip, too.I can see why you love those dear birds! -Marsha
    1972 days ago
  • _LINDA
    How wonderful to get out and enjoy some skiing! Thanks for the link, those bird songs were awesome! Its nice to hear the individual songs too as often there are a lot of birds around and you have trouble picking out one individual.
    It was cold here today, starting out at -21 and not warming up much, but Mom and I went on two short walks to stores in her area anyway just to get some fresh air. I have to go to the club tonight for some work and setup. Have to dress warm!
    Hope you have a good work week!
    1973 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    emoticon emoticon
    1973 days ago
  • ACTIVE_AT_60
    love that three letter word .. S-K-I :-)
    1973 days ago
    It looks and sounds like you are off to a good start on your winter activities. I hope the snow conditions get better and you see a lot more woldlife.
    1973 days ago
    1973 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/25/2012 7:41:03 PM
    Birdlife is one of the joys of walking / jogging outdoors. But of course I had to click the link to hear the birdsong... only I had this napping cat purring in my lap when I did. Wow! You should have seen him sit up and take notice! Ears forward, eyes shifting, looking for the source of the noises. emoticon

    Sounds like a lovely start to your Winter.
    1973 days ago
    1973 days ago
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