On a Sunday afternoon freshly dusted with snow, Paul Noeldner led 14 of us on an exploration of winter's magic. As if seeing the icy, snow-covered ground as the perfect opportunity for some putting practice, Paul started the field trip by pulling out a bag of golf clubs. These were no ordinary golf clubs, however, as each shaft ended in an assortment of trays, utensils, and wooden cut-outs rather than a head. An eager attendee arrayed the spoons on one club just so, and then struck the ground. A birdie! Indeed, there on the ground was the imprint of a turkey track. Paul had a "deer" club, a "duck" club, a "fox" club, and a club that mimicked a mysterious 5-toed creature that could just as well have been 5 separate toads hopping in formation.
Once we got out on the trail we found many real tracks in the snow. Upon the discovery of some fresh fox tracks, Paul replaced his blue googly-eye bird hat with his orange face-hugging fox hat, and talked to us about canids in the area. On the north side of the peninsula, right by the bathrooms, we found much more obvious evidence of canid activity. It appears that a coyote was after something and dug up whole swaths of the sandy bank in pursuit.
We were all chilled by the wind, so we took that as a queue to head back to fire circle #2. There we saw two white-breasted nuthatches, which including two blue jays we saw before the trip started, were the only birds we noticed the whole time. Folks enjoyed warming up and conversing around the fire. As the fire burned low, Paul took the opportunity to warm up the valves on his euphonium and play a farewell tune. Report and photos by Will Vuyk.
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