Despite low clouds and the threat of rain, I bundled up and headed out for a walk. The below normal cold temperature is a bit of a drag, but I shouldn't complain because once it gets hot, which it inevitably will, I'll be complaining about that too.
Here at this spot above the creek, where the mountain laurel will bloom come May and a tiny patch of creeping galax manages to hang on to the edge of the bluff, both throwbacks from ancient times when it was cooler here, I was rewarded by a flock of birds foraging. First a pileated woodpecker flew low through the mauve grey tree trunks, flashing his red crest and the white wing patches on the underside of his magnificent 30 inch wingspan. Then the calls of two waterthrush rang out, newly returned from further south, when I spotted one, it's tail bobbed up and down, up and down. I tried to spy the throat to determine Louisiana or Northern, but couldn't be sure. Golden-crowned kinglets flitted about the small branches searching for bugs and poking up their surprising orange-scarlet head crests as they went. A brown creeper quietly worked its way down a tree, its white breast bright, while its mottled brown back blended perfectly with the bark. Also along the walk today phoebes, so many phoebes lately, fly catching above the stream, juncos, titmice, winter wren, song sparrow, red-bellied woodpecker and yellow-rumped warbler. As I passed beneath the tree where I spotted the red-shouldered hawks the other day, the male was circling at a distance and as I was thinking perhaps they've given up-the female flew from the nest with a scree!
My back is cranky today, it struck as I finished cleaning the house yesterday afternoon, when I was forced to the floor to stretch. There is something about vacuuming that invariably sets off my back, probably the bending, twisting, reaching motion trying to get under and around things, but sometimes I think its my disdain for the task that causes the spasm to set in. Either way, I'm hopeful that stretching and a couple of days of ibuprofen will do the job, because with the weather warming later this week I am eager to get into the garden to weed and mulch and get potatoes and other spring seeds planted, before its too late.