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Ramble with Storm: A robin & snowshoes

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, our family’s mixed Lab.

By snowshoes, I mean the contraptions you strap on your boots for walking in deep snow, not the snowshoe rabbit, the North American hare (Lepus americanus).

But I digress and will circle back.

The robin above was the surprise.

When we came around the east side of south old clay pit, it flew up and landed in a tree right above me. The meathead flushed it once, but then I was able to snap a photo, a dark one before dawn.

I’m guessing it was the same one I saw a week or so ago, and a reader suggested they will hang around in winter, if food is there.

I do not know what food it is finding in a landscape covered in ice and half a foot of snow.

But at birdsource.org, I found this in a post about the Great Backyard Bird Count.

In the winter, the birds are forming flocks. This means fewer people are finding robins, lowering the number of checklists that include them, but when they are seen the numbers will be much higher: frequency will be low, but group size will be high.

That has tended to be my experience, when I find robins in winter, it is a flock of them. But this is twice in the last week or so with a lone robin.

But at least it gave me something wild on a morning I didn’t expect much, and there wasn’t even that many fresh tracks.

I was layered enough, and the wind light enough, that I decided to push out an extended ramble for the first time in several days.

Just let me say, wading through a half foot of virgin snow in heavy rubber boots takes its toll on my back. But it was good to stretch out the extended ramble. And the meathead absolutely loved it.

A few Canada geese raised a racket on the lake on the west. There’s almost enough snow and ice to push Canada geese on their traditional migration to southern Illinois and beyond.

It reminded me of the last December we had like this. It was the December of 2000, the second winter we lived here. At one point, the snow piled up enough in the December of 2000.that I went to Blain’s Farm and Fleet to buy snowshoes.

Let me digress and just say I do not enjoy shopping, but my exception is Blain’s Farm and Fleet. I know some guys find their shopping crave at Cabela’s or Bass Pro. For me it is Farm and Fleet.

It’s got guy stuff from all the fixings for homemade gorp to nuts and bolts to hunting and fishing stuff.

I am a guy. I like guy stuff.

Well, I tried the snowshoes once. Then they hung in the basement next to my golf clubs, used only slightly more often. I finally sold them for a couple bucks in the town’s garage sale weekend one May.

I thought maybe by the time I was back in town, the latest round of snow would be started. Not yet. Just another blah gray winter morning.

But I had a robin.