Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-02-29 – Leap Day surprises


An absolutely banner morning.  Or a red-letter day, depending on where you’re from!

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 6:20 AM
Sunrise: 6:49 AM
Daylight: 12 hrs, 6 min

For some time now I’ve been having fun identifying what manner of animal makes what kind of tracks in the snow.  Up on the Bluff there have been squirrels, rabbits, a raccoon, songbirds, mice, game birds of some kind (most likely pheasants, but possibly grouse), dog tracks galore, cats too, and I still haven’t learned the difference between cat, dog, and fox pawprints.  The one variety of animal tracks I haven’t ever seen any sign of, despite the good browse and ready access to water, is deer.  A few days ago Bobbie found a track she thought might be deer, but the snow had melted and distorted the trace so badly it was hard to tell for sure.  And another friend, an experienced hunter, had given several sound reasons for the local deer not making a home on the Bluff, hence no hoofprints.

Well, the sunrise was a bit of a disappointment today, albeit more colorful than the skies indicated it would be at first light!  At the base of the Kiwanis stairs, the view to the east was unremittingly grey; but the skies above the Bluff, on reaching the top of those same stairs, held swift-moving gaps in the clouds.  For a while it seemed as though those clear patches would take hold in the east just as the sun was rising, but apparently there were multiple layers of clouds, moving in different directions at different speeds, and so there wasn’t much to be seen, standing there in the cold winds from the west.

_MG_6702(On the plus side, no issues with the tripod or the horizon alignment – I even remembered to rotate the tripod under the camera so that one leg was bracing the rig against the wind, because it was more than strong enough to blow the camera over today.)

Well, on the way back once again I was being treated to the sight of eagles in flight as they sported with the air currents.  And so distracted I was as my feet moved me along the path without much guidance from my eyes, that sudden movement and crashing through stands of sumac and the prairie grasses was unexpected and startling.

By the time I looked, there was no animal to be seen; just a flash of white, further down the hill and the swaying of branches and grasses where it had been.  A rabbit, I thought.

Until I took a few steps more and saw the second deer, bounding downhill at a slant, head up and tail flagged.  Too stunned to even reach for my camera, I simply watched with my jaw dropped.

Yep.  That was probably a deer track that Bobbie found.

Panoramic 060

2 thoughts on “2016-02-29 – Leap Day surprises

  1. Leanne Overlander

    As we drove into town and saw the bluff and gray skies, I said aloud, “I hope Ellen has some animal encounters for the sunrise will not be all that colorful today.” I am so happy you did see some animals, and the ones you were wondering where they may be. 🙂

    1. Ellemar Post author

      Thanks! It was totally awesome – and you know, the clouds, while not colorful, were still entertaining to watch.

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