As many of you probably already knew, yesterday was the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, and we were supposed to have exactly 9 hours (plus 0 minutes and 0 seconds) between sunrise and sunset here in Shorewood. Today, I read that we get 3 whole additional seconds of sunshine, and that’s a step in the right direction, so I’ll take it!
This morning the sun rose on crystal-clear skies, bracingly-cold air, and a stiff breeze out of the west-northwest. This could make for some nice pictures, if anyone came out to play, and I am happy to report that many did.
I had barely crossed the Oak Leaf Trail to enter the park when I spotted three deer, perhaps the trio from Saturday, crossing the path up ahead, so I did my best to hurry up while making it look like I wasn’t moving. By the time I got them in sight again, it appears that I could have taken my time because two of them were busy tending to their tarsal glands.
Once they got that taken care of, they went to work cleaning up the fallen crabapples littering the grass.
Along the river, I could still feel the breeze, and even the chickadees were keeping close to the ground.
By the time I approached the falls, the sun was finally shining down into the river valley, and the open water above the falls was chock full o’ geese and mallards.
With the sun finally warming things up a bit, the woodpeckers were out in force, and here’s a diminutive female downy,…
a comparatively hulking male hairy, who managed to blink for the camera, …
and a just-right-sized male red-bellied.
Finally, just as I was crossing back over the Oak Leaf Trail on my way out of the park, I spotted this nuthatch to square up the foursome.