Yesterday was a gorgeous late autumn day on the farm. Sunny, 26 degrees and calm winds.
I layered on my winter gear and headed north for a slow, leisurely walk in the conservation acres, without the dogs. I enjoy taking them with me, but this particular morning, I chose to venture out solo. Two German Shepherds zig-zagging through a maze of prairie grass and snow with reckless abandon has a tendency to discourage most of the native creatures from staying put. The crunching sound of my yellow muck boots breaking the surface of the frozen snow was creating enough commotion as it was.
Shane was busy splitting wood up by the house and Buck and Sioux were content to spend some quality time with Dad before he heads back to South Dakota today.
Although I heard many a tell-tale sound of creatures walking and flying about, most were either too far away or obscured by heavy trees to take any adequate photographs. Deer, hawks, pheasant, woodpeckers, finches and squirrels were in abundance, but apparently I lacked the stealth to catch them unawares.
I meandered along the entire perimeter of the fence line, pausing at the pond for a few minutes to capture a downy woodpecker drilling for insects in an aging cottonwood. So intent on the task at hand, he seemed oblivious to me as I lingered below him for several minutes.