We have spent much of the winter playing hard. We begin each week with our Tracks & Trails group (formerly referred to as waldschule, we made the change because people had trouble pronouncing it). Regardless of the amount of snow on the ground, as long as it's 20 degrees or above, Monday finds us in the woods tracking animals, converting sticks into swords, climbing trees, comparing mosses, spotting cardinals and bluejays, listening for deer and other woodland creatures, climbing hills and using our bums as make-shift sleds. While we often don't make it very far into the trail - because we've discovered a magical shelter someone left behind, a giant log that resembles a dragon or simply because Violet is, yet again, demanding cheese - our time spent in the great outdoors is never wasted.
Two weeks ago was the Great Backyard Bird Count, organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In preparation, Syler pulled out our Birds of New York Field Guide and got to work looking up all the birds we typically see in our backyard during the winter. He then made a list of birds we were likely to (or really wished we would) see:
While we did not see a Bald Eagle or a Brown Thrasher, we did see a Hairy Woodpecker, several Bluejays, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice and several Cardinals. We then forgot to keep track of how many. Oh well.
This past weekend was the weekend of winter bliss! Sledding, igloo building, and snow eating. Mmmm . . .