One heron, three coyotes, and an eagle on frozen Lake Monroe

Frozen Lake MonroeOn the way out of Pine Grove, I watched a great blue heron take off from shore and cross the lake, I am sure he was hungry as all of Lake Monroe was frozen. I heard a few woodpeckers calling as I rode over the ice towards Elkinsville, and I found some tracks in the snow cover the ice. But it was not till I was returning westward, when I spotted three coyotes running across the ice. They stopped and watched me for a while as I watched them, but when I started moving, they took off, one split off parallel to me along the ice, the other two started running towards the south shore.

Then as I came around the last point before heading for Pine Grove ramp, I saw a full grown bald eagle take off heading east, he/she had been standing on the shoreline, no doubt wondering when the ice would melt.

January Snow!

It is finally snowing, and the forecast is for sub-zero temperatures for a couple of days! I am hoping this will be enough to freeze Griffy Lake by Sunday, when the temps will get up near freezing, perfect for riding on the ice and snow.

I was in the forest last night at dusk, and it was so quiet, not a bird or beast was stirring, I think they knew this storm was coming.

Riding in January

Though not exactly an easy task, it’s not impossible, and can be fun. I ride more slowly in the winter, the wind chill at 15 mph can be brutal when it’s 20 degrees. So I don’t worry about being aerodynamics, I just bundle up in my winter coat and ride at 10 mph. There is great beauty in the bare winter landscapes, and the birds that winter here are easy to see with no leaves on the trees. With a light dusting of snow the hillsides glow in the early sunsets as the geese fly overhead.

The first week of January was quite warm, in the 50’s though cloudy, making for good riding. I’ve been exploring the east side of the county lately, riding a variety of loops on McGowen, Friendship, Duke, Kerr Creek, and Lampkin’s Ridge Roads. In years past, I’ve worked the loops to the south, riding to the lake via Stipp, Moores Creek, Ramp Creek, and Pine Grove Roads, and it is always fun to be by the water. But heading east, the Wildlife Nesting Area and the forests are the draw. Except during the fall hunting season, the Salt Creek valley north of the lake is empty (with the exception of birdwatchers and the occasional DNR employee) of humans.

Here are some pics from my first ride of the year, click the slideshow option:

First rides of 2009

Cooper's Hawk near Bryan Park

Today I saw one of the young Cooper’s hawks in a tree near Dodds and Grant Streets. He/she was fluffed up, and watching the yards around with rodents on the mind: the bird did not react to me at all even though I moved ever closer to get a better view. I’m sure it’s one of the 4-5 fledglings who were born in Dunn Woods last spring, I’m happy to see them, but where will the young ones nest next year? The parents have been there 2 years that I have seen, and there are two nests, one to the south and one to the west. Maybe there will be more than one nesting pair this year