24 hours earlier, the forecast was for up to 1 inch of snow, with heavier amounts to the south of us. It started snowing late yesterday, and we awoke to more than a foot of snow. I took a photo of a small table on our patio early this morning.
By late afternoon, the roads and most of the sidewalks had been cleared, and the sun came out for a bit. Alice and I went for a walk here in Old Trail, and I took my camera along in case there might be any good shots. A distant Great Blue Heron flew by, probably in search of somewhere to find some food.
Great Blue Heron
I went out this morning to look for snow birds here in Old Trail. The temperature was in the low 20s, and the snow was still deep. All of the trails were snow covered and icy. I should have used better judgement, but I started out on a trail in Western Park where there had been some foot traffic, and soon found myself in deep snow, but at that point, I continued on. Most of the birds that I saw were just trying to keep warm in the morning sunshine, and a few birds were going to bird feeders.
Northern Cardinal, House Finch, and White-throated Sparrow
American Crows chased a Common Raven out of their territory.
Common Raven and American Crow
I wondered if the large golf course pond would have some waterfowl taking refuge there, but when I saw a flock of geese flying from that direction, I knew that the pond must have been frozen over.
I went over to that pond to confirm my suspicions, and sure enough, it had frozen over. But there were a few birds foraging near the shoreline, and I ended the morning with 20 avian species.
After spending December 12 birding in the Shenandoah Valley, I decided to try here in Old Trail again. Two days of above freezing daytime temperatures had melted some of the snow, but night time freezing temperatures had created some black ice on hard surfaces. But at least the snow on the trails was only four inches deep or less. I took the same route as I did two days earlier, and this day, birds were out everywhere, especially sparrow species. These birds must have been really hungry, and were searching for food anywhere the snow had melted.
I saw two interesting sparrow species. The first was a Savannah Sparrow. I had seen this species in Old Trail in previous years, as well as in other Virginia locations this winter. This was the first one I had seen in Old Trail for quite a few months.
The other species was a Chipping Sparrow. This species is abundant here in the spring through autumn, but uncommon to rare in the winter months. Last winter, there was a flock of about 50 of them in this same area of Old Trail, but this was the first one I had seen here for a couple of months.
I then went over to the golf course pond, and it was partially frozen. There weren't any birds in the pond, but sparrows and other woodland species were nearby. It looks like White-breasted Nuthatches may be nesting in a bird box along the pond.