Yesterday I took the opportunity to snowshoe, in some pristine conditions, at the Massachusetts Audubon Wompanoag Sanctuary at the end of Raymond Street in Gardner. I have the "brilliant" idea of doing some owling out there for the Westminster Christmas Count (on 12/22/07) and figure if (a big if) I decide to give this night time hike a shot, I'd better break a trail ahead of time. Traveling the edge of the fields would be easy enough in the dark, but the woodland section of the Moosewood Trail is narrow, lightly used (as is the whole sanctuary) and tough to follow.
A typical scene along the wooded portions of my hike
As I was strapping on the "shoes" I could hear a Pine Grosbeak calling in the distance, once I'm underway I find this female and its all alone and feeding in a small vine of oriental bittersweet. The snow is absolutely perfect, but as expected there are not be too many birds. Once I reach the forest I hear and see a Ruffed Grouse flush, during the Breeding Bird Atlas project I confirmed breeding of this species in two different areas of this sanctuary.
My tracks upon completing the Moosewood Loop
Bird list from the hike