I wasn't looking for birds this afternoon. But I brought my cameras along - just in case I came across a Snowy Owl or that elusive Short-eared Owl down the road by the impoundment. Other than the frozen fog, which I've only experienced once before, there wasn't much to see.
Or so I thought.
I was out looking for places to put utility poles for our Community Nest Watch program when I noticed a bird along the shoulder of the road. At first glance, the "giss" (pronunciation: "jizz") screamed "thrush." Could it be a west coast robin - a Varied Thrush?
I backed up - and, of course, the thrush flew off. I waited. It returned.
Not a Varied Thrush - it was an American Robin.
No, it's not the first sign of spring - the day after Ground Hog's Day.
It's not that unusual to see them in the Upper Midwest during the winter. But what was it doing on the side of the road?
I sat and patiently watched as this thrush lifted leaves and pulled at grasses. I've seen them act like Cedar Waxwings and eat fruits and berries this time of year, but there aren't any berries under the leaves along the roadside in Marshall County Minnesota in February.
It could be that the unseasonably warm weather the past couple days has awaken some invertebrates along the roadside. Maybe there were insects under those leaves. Whatever it was, that bird wasn't about to leave it.
But I had get going...
Not a great day to look birds. But there's always something to see in this neck of the woods - despite the weather.