In Montana I always knew when spring had officially arrived when I heard my first western meadowlark of the season. In Virginia, my harbinger of spring is the song of the redwinged blackbird. Well today, on an icy mid-February Valentine’s morning, we heard our first redwinged blackbirds! And it definitely did not feel like spring. Everything is covered in ice, and the damp cold gets right in your bones. Are the blackbirds early this year, or do they overwintered here at Huntley Meadows? We also saw seagulls, mallards, and hooded mergansers. We don’t get to HM Park much, it being a long drive through an urban landscape with lots of traffic and traffic lights. It’s a birder’s haven, and there was plenty of beaver activity all around. The park is mostly a flooded forest surrounded by a large, marshy lake—nary a meadow in sight.
Check out the cool photo of the ice forming an endcap on the handrail, as if it were a continuation of the railing. Amazing how water can flow to form ice in a shape where there is no solid matter to form around. How does it know? Why doesn’t the water just drip off the bottom of the railing? The house it was attached to is an old estate, the summer home of the grandson of George Mason (the main author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as a basis for the United States Bill of Rights).
Hubby and I do not do all the Hallmarky Valentine’s things; we don’t exchange cards or boxes of chocolates (we have enough chocolate in this house year-round). But we are grateful to have each other and are still in love after 20+ years.