February finds us…


Trying desperately to ski.

The huge snow we were blessed with this month has become an unwieldy, wet mess that is decidedly NOT optimal (or even so-so) for cross-country skiing. My skis are waxless, which is not helping. I tried very VERY hard to make skiing work over the weekend. I just wound up frustrated.

Venturing to Faulkes Heritage Woods in search of a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.

No luck. A very nice couple was out plowing their driveway next to the woods & told us they’ve seen the woodpeckers a few times at their yard feeders this year.  We’ll be back.




Building outdoor bonfires & cooking polish for dinner under the moonlight.

Saturday evening was such a great night.


Chasing more rare gulls.

We got word of several rare gulls at Cedar Lake (a pathetic excuse for a lake, owned by the local power company & leased to the city; it is actually “a river slough that was modified around 1890 to become a cooling lake for the Sixth Street power generating station” according to the city’s website).  We raced over after Merritt got off school, not realizing the gulls are gone during the day & only return to the lake to roost at night.  The rare gulls we spotted (a Greater Black-backed, a Lesser Black-backed, & a Glaucous) flew in well after 6pm.  It was nearly dark.  We were freezing.  I could barely hold my binoculars steady.  My legs had basically froze off an hour before.  But it was so worth it.  While we waited, we observed some local gluttonous Canada Geese eating corn off the top of a train car parked nearby.  The older kids found it crazy.

I promise that is a Glaucous Gull (right).  Could this photo be any worse???

I promise that is a Glaucous Gull (right). Could this photo be any worse???

This is a terrible photo taken with a crappy cell phone through a scope in the waning light. This Glaucous Gull is a juvenile.  A HUGE gull.  There were at least six or seven local, experienced bird watchers/birders also at the lake that night (Monday).  They were extremely helpful individuals.  I don’t think we would have located all three rarities without their knowledge & assistance.  The birding world is such an awesome place.  I did manage to spot the Lesser Black-backed Gull (an adult) by myself as it flew in before anyone else.  That felt good. 🙂

How does February find you?


8 thoughts on “February finds us…

  1. Wow what great pics AGAIN! Loved loved the ones of the fire – you know me, I love a good bonfire! Great post, Ruby….sounds like you had an adventure inspite of the weather. Hugs, Mom & Nana


  2. haha – cross country skiing can be a tricky business regardless of the temperatures/conditions if you ask me! Its been years since I’ve gone and now I fear I wouldn’t get the wax right – it can be so frustrating trying to ski when your skis are slipping all over the place 🙂 Your bonfire looks so cosy and fun! Its been super cold up here (today being the coldest day yet this winter) so I have huge plans of curling up with my littlest and spending the better part of the day reading and knitting…hmm, maybe this cold thing isn’t so bad after all 😉 Wishing you and your family a lovely weekend, Ruby! xo p.s. Have you ever read “Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures”? Apparently, he had a real “thing” for gulls that’s reflected in his later paintings, if your library has a copy, you might enjoy it just for those paintings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely am in the “frustrated” skiing category right now. The temps plummeted big time after this post and now the trails are much much MUCH too slick. Before I literally could not move my skis the trail was too wet…now it’s like a racetrack. Winter problems! 😉 I have never read the book your mentioned but it sounds very interesting. I will hunt around for it at the libraries in town this week–thank you, Leigh, for the recommendation! xx


  3. I wish we had snow…I could wear my flip flops today it’s so sunny and warm. Wonderful that you have such enthusiasm for birding Ruby, very contagious- I have 2 fancy things to report, we saw swans swimming amongst the Canadian geese this morning- pretty neat that they are here…..and a “couple” of Blue Jays on my birdfeeder. woohooo! Love the fire image, so cozy…
    Happy valentines day my dear tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still cannot get over how we have snow & you do not–that is just sad. I actually saw someone in town last week wearing flip-flops…it was like 5 below zero ‘F, so that was just wacky. I love your birding reports, Camilla! Swans are amazing. There is a stuffed one in the Nature Center near us (accidental death) and it is HUGE when viewed up close. Swans definitely embody powerful beauty. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, too. Your package arrived here in Iowa on Saturday & the new yarns are knock-your-socks-off gorgeous! Wow, I am indeed inspired! xx


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