Thursday, February 5, 2009

spring creeping in quicker and quicker

There's been a change in the air recently, and for a few weeks now the days have been getting noticeably longer. Today was a luscious almost-getting-to-be-spring-like day, with the temperature easily topping 30F and warm sunshine all day. This afternoon, a friend and I went walking through the portion of the Superior Hiking Trail that goes through Hartley Park. I'd never been on that portion of the trail before, and even though it's between two buslines and in the middle of the city, it, like much of the green space in Duluth, is astonishingly lovely, with lots of birch and conifers, some so big that your outstretched arms won't even reach halfway around. Th trail here goes up and down a few hills, and this is the view from about 1,300 feet up:

(For locals: the bump on the right is Rock Knob, and the indentation on the left is the marsh.)

One of the highlights of the day, in addition to all the zigzags of I'm-guessing-shrew tracks everywhere in the snow, was the hairy woodpecker who drummed on a hollow tree just a few feet away from us. The drumming echoed through the woods, singing the praises of his big, burly woodpeckerishness to any females within listening distance. We were close enough to easily watch him without binoculars, and when he flew off over our head we could hear his wings slicing through the sky.

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