Thursday, November 20, 2008

A long winter ahead

I love winter. Always have. That's probably a byproduct of a lifelong fasciantion with nature, coupled with growing up in the upper Midwest. One comes to appreciate the changes of seasons, and the diversity that comes with seasonal shifts.

We had our first big taste of winter Tuesday. Driving up to Lake County in extreme northeastern Ohio that day, I experienced near whiteout conditions just south of Cleveland. You know, dense flurries that made it tough to see, freeway down to a lane, and traffic slowed to 10-20 mph. Fun. Now our temps here in the great state of Ohio are hovering around or below freezing - 29 degrees right now - but it's cool (literally). I'll look forward to lots of interesting wintery excursions for Arctic gulls, hardy waterfowl, winter finches, and raptors.

But one does pine for spring, when the days grow short and the nights are frosty.

So tonight, after installing a fantastic new 22" monitor, I needed to put a new screen saver shot aboard. And so I scrolled through my vast archive of photos. And came across the following:

A sea of Wild Leek, Allium tricoccum, tumbling out of a ravine in Shawnee State Forest. This native onion - tasty, too, particularly if you are of West Virginian extraction - is one of the first plants to burst forth in spring. This shot was taken on April 5th.

That's only about five and a half months from now. A long time, sure. So you might as well make the most of winter. Perhaps consider joining us on the Ohio Ornithological Society's annual winter raptor extravaganza at the Wilds, slated for January 17th. Last year, 120 bird enthusiasts braved the Arctic-like conditions and had a ball.

Watch for details on that excursion here and elsewhere soon. And get out your igloo and anorak.

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