Why I Love Streams

Today’s hike was one of those that reinforced why I love streams so much.  Last night the temps got down to about 10 degrees and the ice formations that formed on one of the spring fed tributaries of Baird Creek were incredibly beautiful.  There was ice that looked like lace along the edge of the stream, areas where it looked like lattice work across the stream, and areas where the ice covered the whole stream but was so thin that the water moving under it was causing it to ripple up and down.

This was a beautiful scene that was also accompanied by the music of the water tumbling over the rocks and sliding over logs in the stream.  The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”  This is especially true this time of year because the ice formations change every day.

There have been many interesting bird sightings recently at Baird Creek.  Yesterday at dusk I heard a barred owl (the “who cooks for you, who cooks for you’all owl) in the woods northeast of Christa McAuliffe Park.  Then I heard what I thought was a person imitating a barred owl.  It turned out I had heard both, I soon met a man coming down the trail who had heard the owl, and had been trying to get it to call back.  We soon saw a pair of barred owls, and they were attempting to mate.  That man, plus another, I met this morning, said the pair has been at Baird Creek for at least a month so they should be nesting soon, and hopefully there will be barred owl babies this spring.

This is very special because although there are always a few great horned owl nests at Baird Creek this is the first time I have heard of barred owls preparing to nest there.

Other recent sightings at Baird Creek are a winter wren, a hermit thrush, and a large flock of robins.

Last week, and the week before, the cross country skiing on the trails the City grooms east of I-43 has just been marvelous.  Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and several days with temps in the 40s have ended the skiing.  If you have never X-country skied at Baird Creek you should give it a try, the trails are easy enough for beginners and the scenery is beautiful, but you will probably have to wait until next winter.