My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Sunny Nature Hike

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

I enjoyed a wonderful sunny nature hike in Allegany State Park today. It was wonderful seeing people hiking, ice fishing, sledding, cross-country skiing and even those that were out on snowmobiles. Even more pleasant was seeing many of those enjoying nature with their children and pulling the kids away from the computer games for a few hours.

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

It was extremely quite on my hike with very few birds flying around. I located a Chickadee bird party and pished them in closer.  I was shocked on how close they got and were kind enough to be in some great lighting.

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Typically we have a few woodpeckers hanging out with these Chickadee parties but they only had the two species of Nuthatchs following along. Some American Goldfinch were out in the dogwoods but they just yelled “potato chip and dip” and went the other direction!

mink tracks along stream
Mink tracks along the stream!

With the fresh snow on the ground . . . . it was easy to find mink tracks along multiple streams. Just look for the side by side prints that are left behind and they are a little larger in size than the Long-tailed Weasel prints I found back in January.

mink tracks
Mink Tracks side by side!

I would also like to give a shout out to radio talk show host Grizzly Gary who generously offered me a Grizzly Gary Burger at his BBQ today. What a character he is and I will let everyone know when he finally talks me into being on his radio program!

Grizzly Gary BBQ
Grizzly Gary BBQ

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26 responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow

    What a beautiful day to be out. Beautiful photos! Good to see you got to enjoy it. A grilled burger would taste good right now. 🙂 I think you should go on the show. You are already famous. Spread the word, Nachure is GRAND!!!!

    16 February 2008 at 6:59 pm

  2. Looks like a fantastic day! Yum! Gorgeous birds. I’d love to see minky tracks. So cool.

    16 February 2008 at 7:17 pm

  3. Love the pictures of the tracks in the snow. Can you recommend a good book for kids for identifying animal tracks?

    16 February 2008 at 7:52 pm

  4. Nice pictures of some “common” birds. Sometimes I can start taking them for granted. I’m glad however that you didn’t get a close up of those grizzly and perhaps greasy(?) burgers. They probably tasted better than they looked!

    16 February 2008 at 8:18 pm

  5. I totally love your white breasted nuthatch photo Tom! Along with the other ones, of course, but that one is really great! Cool mink tracks! It looks like we both finally got a beautiful, sunny day today – yay!

    16 February 2008 at 8:26 pm

  6. Those photos of the chickadees and nuthatches are brilliant! I’ve never seen the whitebreasted one before your post … unless I was corn-fusing them with the chickadees its amazing how much they look alike. Your red-breasted guy was adorable. I spied one myself the other day but never got as close as you did … (see animals just trust you) of course do you hike with your cats too? dang. that’s probably what I’m doing wrong! Beautiful post. p.s. totally looking forward to the radio program! I’d love to attach a voice to all the hard work you do.

    16 February 2008 at 8:32 pm

  7. NatureShutterbug

    Great nuthatch pictures, especially the first.

    16 February 2008 at 8:40 pm

  8. I’d heard the “potato chip” description of the goldfinch call, but I LOVE the addition of the dip. And the burgers look delish…I must be hungry!

    16 February 2008 at 9:39 pm

  9. @ Lisa – thanks and that was a great burger for sure!
    @ Liza – was an amazing day! Thanks and would have liked to seen that mink making those tracks!
    @ Sherry – thanks and hmm, I just use a little cheat card that has all the tracks on them! Most of the mammal guides have tracks on them, Petersons is alright! Might have to get back on your and look through my library!
    @ Vern – great seeing them and sometimes we overlook them! Well that’s until that’s all you have! You have no idea how great they were! Hmm, Thanks Grizzly Gary!
    @ Pam – thanks and so glad it was such a sunny day!
    @ aullori – thanks and I have posted many WBNU’s! just follow that link (lets hope it works alright)! Cat’s are inside cats!
    @ NatureShutterbug – thanks and I did take a few others that are on my flickr page!
    @ Zen – they really say “Potato Chip, Potato Chip and Dip” and probably should have done it right! LOL! Burger was great, thanks to Grizzly Gary!

    16 February 2008 at 10:17 pm

  10. Mmmmm. Can’t get past that BBQ! I’m hungry tonight!

    You mentioned those getting kids away from the TV/computer monitor/games for a few hours. I wish all parents would do the same…

    Stellar bird shots, as usual! I’m still pining for a red-breasted NH.

    16 February 2008 at 10:35 pm

  11. What beautiful birdie pictures you took! That BBQ looks yummy too!

    16 February 2008 at 11:29 pm

  12. calevphoto

    The picture at the top is great! I love the blue background, DOF, and framing.

    16 February 2008 at 11:59 pm

  13. That mink was going in a pretty straight line. Very interesting about the tracks being side by side. The bird shots are great. What a great-looking burger! Nice and cheesy.

    16 February 2008 at 11:59 pm

  14. Tom, Awesome shot of the white-breasted nuthatch. I love the catchlights.


    17 February 2008 at 2:50 am

  15. Love that shot of the Red-breasted nuthatch! They are so hard to catch still. Burger looks yummy!

    17 February 2008 at 7:23 am

  16. @ Mary- these guys were a hoot!! Yes, there are many things that people can do outside, even in the winter months! Thanks
    @ Chicago – thanks and was yummy!
    @ Joe – thanks and the sky was perfect yesterday!
    @ Linda – between those photos the tracks were in and out of the water and rocks that were around the bridge! Thanks
    @ Tom – thanks and I have some others on flickr that I couldn’t choose which I liked better!
    @ Jayne – Thanks and they are tough to photograph!

    17 February 2008 at 9:42 am

  17. Moe

    Wonderful pictures, mon@rch! I wish it was nice enough to take walks here, but it’s still too cold! Love the red-breasted nuthatch!

    17 February 2008 at 10:27 am

  18. Wow, that is about all you can say after looking at those pictures. Those are truly remarkable!

    17 February 2008 at 11:10 am

  19. Marg

    Those are fantastic shots-our weather has been soooo grey it sure is nice to get shots in the Sun!

    17 February 2008 at 8:53 pm

  20. Great birds shots!
    I agree with your sentiment about seeing others out enjoying these fine days.
    We hiked this weekend at a preserve and found many others enjoying the place we’d chosen.
    As much as I like the solitude of nature, if I’m the only one in a natural public area –it would concern me that no one else would care enough to save it.

    18 February 2008 at 7:41 am

  21. Beautiful shots of birds that IME are difficult to photograph! We have Pygmy Nuthatches in SF, and although common, they’re usually way up in the canopies of tall trees, moving quickly, and in the shade! And our Chestnut-backed Chickadees won’t sit still for one second – well captured! And I love the BBQ in the snow 🙂

    18 February 2008 at 12:51 pm

  22. @Moe – thanks and I am so ready for spring!
    @ YN-J – thanks bud!
    @ Marg – thanks! I love when the sun and birds work together like this!
    @ Nina – thanks and we all need to enjoy nature no matter what the weather is! So much agree with you!
    @ Adam – thanks and would love to see a Pygmy Nuthatch! LOL but know how they move fast like that!

    18 February 2008 at 5:14 pm

  23. Love those nuthatches and chickadees! Thanks for sharing them, Tom.

    18 February 2008 at 7:24 pm

  24. Grace

    I never get tired of chickadees and nuthatches, even if they are common. I love looking for tracks too. February is the best month for them–little critters on the move on warm days.

    18 February 2008 at 11:13 pm

  25. Gorgeous shots, Tom – really nice light and good poses from all of the birds.

    19 February 2008 at 11:44 am

  26. You’ve inspired me. I’ve not walked in a snowy woods yet this year. By gum. I’m going to find my thermals and pray for a dusting of snow.

    The track pictures make me wistful for the secret wild things that so few of us experience today.

    20 February 2008 at 7:54 am

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