This time of year it’s not difficult to get up before the sun.
There was a fresh layer of snow when I went out for a walk
so I took my camera to see who would be up ahead of me leaving tracks.
These might be dog tracks, but dogs are usually accompanied by people.
The footprints didn’t follow the path but went in and out of grasses and bushes
near the golf course where I’d seen a coyote earlier in the year.
The tracks disappeared into the trees by the river which was black and full of floating ice.
A runner had been down the river road ahead of me.
It was probably our neighbor. I see him occasionally coming home as I am going out.
Only the call of magpies and chickadees broke the early morning quiet.
Smaller doggish tracks were left in and around grasses not far from where
I’d seen a mother fox guarding her den in the rocks last spring.
Whatever was making these tracks was probably just ahead of me and left in a hurry.
Even before I could see the small cat-like tracks,
each back paw falling precisely into the print of the front paw, I could smell a skunk.
Fortunately the stinker stayed out of sight.
Then I could hear what sounded like cars with loose fan belts
as the air whistled through the wings of a flock of ducks overhead.
I’m not sure, but with their white chests they looked to me like buffleheads.
My bird book says, “usually in small flocks on lakes or shallow bays in winter.”
As I was walking by the pond. The
were startled by my approach Canada
and also took to the air.
These tracks were easy to identify.
The owner was just a few feet away…
…and on his way to join his friends for breakfast.
It was no longer dark as I made my way back to the house.
I’m SO glad after today the length of the days will again gradually begin to grow longer.