Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for February 20, 2010

Birds, Squirrels and Valentines on the Hot Springs Trails

Hot Springs National Park Dead Chief Trail Squirrel

Hot Springs National Park Dead Chief Trail Squirrel

It’s the morning before a storm day that will include lightening, most creatures are on the ground foraging for food. The rustling of leaves makes the park sound like a giant bowl of Rice Krispies just after the milk has been poured. A Blue Jay high in a tree with a big berry in his beak is the only bird I have spotted since entering the park.

The first half of the Dead Chief Trail incline yielded only a rustling sound and the occasional squawk over foraging space.  On the seconded incline a squirrel was sounding off with a series of screeches, then turned and ran down a tree. By the time I reached the Short Cut Trail the rustling was very loud and I would see squirrels dashing across the trail.  Their speed and agility was so amazing they were like gray blurs. Getting a photo was futile so I decided to just enjoy the show and try not to get run over.

When I reached the top I spotted a lovely little White-Throated Sparrow tossing leaves looking for a snack.  As I moved father ahead I could hear two distinctive bird calls, the Red Bellied Woodpecker and a Blue Jay.  Both were being loud and elusive , I laughed at the game of hide and seek they were playing.  My friendly shadows on the trail. As I headed to the Pagoda I noticed Nature had left me a Valentine.

At the Pagoda the skies were cloudy and the land had a blue tint, the birds were still hidden and the leaves still were being tossed.  I went down to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail and a Northern Mockingbird landed on a bush limb above me.  As I stood still to take it’s picture I could hear people up at the Pagoda talking about us and taking photos.  I had to hold back a laugh, suddenly I was a mammal in the Park to be photographed.

I hiked down the Hot Springs Mountain Trail on the east side of the mountain and followed it around to the west side.  From there I took the Honeysuckle Trail  to the Floral Trail.  I left the mountain still within the park in search of two new residents.  A male and female beaver had recently built a dam and I wanted to see the exact location so I could come back at sunset or dawn.  These times are according to my Internet research, the best time to see them.  Special thanks to the NPS for letting me know of their existence.

From the Beaver dam I headed back up the mountain to the Honeysuckle Trail over to the Peak Trail and down to the park entrance.  As always I am honored that you would join me on my journey with in the park.

Love and Play Everyday!
Love to All,
Lee

P.S. Never discount the beauty of any photo you have taken. All photos are wonderful, they show a moment in time that will never exist again.


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