“I take flight on the wings of my Dreams to greet the new day.” ~ Lee Hiller
Winter Serenade: Woodpeckers and Warblers appear throughout the Forest this morning. Pileated, Sapsucker and Downy provide a rapping tapping rhythm section as Vireos, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Mockingbirds sing a sweet melody. The Trees sway and groan to the glorious song carried by the breeze. The symphony of life carries me along each trail.
The Stud Muffin: Ice, snow, drought, prolonged extreme heat , floods and tornadoes have ravaged Hot Springs National Park the past 18 months. The number of small mammals has greatly diminished. Squirrels, Rabbits, Chipmunks, Fox etc. have now become rare sightings. About 20 minutes into my hike I spotted this little Male Chipmunk chasing Female Chipmunks. Racing across logs, hopping onto rocks and popping in and out of numerous burrows for half an hour this athletic little stud muffin hooked up, made booty calls and knocked up the female population along the Lower Dogwood Trail. He was so busy he nearly ran me over twice crisscrossing the trail to keep the ladies happy. His amorous endeavors are sure to help rebuild the decimated Chipmunk population in Hot Springs National Park. For his selfless entrepreneurial spirit Nature photographers salute this Forest Hero for his re-population efforts!
Signs of Life: Although I know there are several herds of White-tail Deer roaming Hot Springs National Park they are elusive and I am always delighted by any sighting. Heading home I hike down North Mountain it is wonderful to see fresh Deer tracks in the soil. I make a slow 360 turn to see if I can catch a glimpse of an ear tip or vanishing white tail. I will have to hike up a bit earlier to catch them on their morning migration across the mountain in Hot Springs National Park. I love finding these delicate reminders of Forest life.
A Dance of Light: As the sun rises to illuminate the trail I am bathed in the beauty of a new day. Mornings rays dance among the Short Leaf Pines and the tangle of Deciduous limbs. Delicate splash of color appear as the first light kisses each surface of the Forest.
I embrace the beauty of the winter Forest!
Love to ALL!
Due to the extreme temperatures I have been hiking much earlier in the morning. The limited light often makes it difficult to photograph the many beautiful sights. I have begun to see another world as the rays of the rising sun crests the surrounding Mountains.
Colorful Flowers glow in the half light along fences as I hike toward North Mountain. Small shadows take shape as I move closer, a Chipmunk climbing on the rocks and a Squirrel foraging in the grass. A faint song draws me closer and I can see a lovely little Tufted Titmouse chick grooming on the branch above me. A lump on the trail ahead of me comes into focus and it is beautiful Box Turtle stretching it’s neck.
So much is revealed in the light of a new morning, Nature lifts my Spirit…
Love to ALL!