Courting Colors

Great Blue Heron in Spring Plumage

Cardinal pitchers and catchers reported this week for spring training in Florida. Where did we leave those baseballs last year? Spring can’t be that far away. Yesterday, it supposedly warmed up some and Anne and I got out on our bikes. Our own form of spring training. It was brisk. It was too cold for Anne to wear her new three-quarter length bike tights and had to wear old full length ones.

The week of rain that we’ve had has left the bike path inundated. Orange cones were placed at the most egregious spots. They’ve never done that before. I’m not sure how helpful they were. The spots that were still flooded were self-evident. The ones where the water has receded were only of passing interest. Bicyclist have a real advantage over pedestrians at these spots. We can glide through the water, with pedals held level and not get wet. I could see where runners had cut cross-country and churned the soggy grass into mud.

We saw the pictured Great Blue Heron near Jefferson Lake. It is resplendent in its nuptial plumage. Is this another sign of spring or is fluffing its feathers, because it is cold? The bird allowed us to approach quite closely. Although, as you can see, we were being eyed even more closely. We are the bird paparazzi after all and shall not be denied our pics.

Later that day we had gyrotonics and we’re feeling it afterwards. We’re starting to get the hang of these exercises, which means less time is spent instructing and more time is spent doing. By the end of our period, I welcomed conversational asides, because they gave us a rest break. Maybe two exercises is too many. 

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Well, Dave almost got his wish. I had asked him who he was rooting for in the Super bowl and he answered, “I hope nobody wins.”  After three-quarters it was a 3-3 tie and looked headed for his hoped for outcome, triple overtime, followed by a power outage. But that was not to be. The Ram’s defense finally folded. Their offence having never bothered to show up. The commercials were meh, so I had pretty much packed it in by halftime. I did make bacon-wrapped scallops.

Anne and I had bicycled together. It was just the two of us, plus half of Saint Louis in Forest Park. It was even more crowded than Saturday, but then the  weather was warmer too. We started on the bike trail, but soon bailed, only to find that all of these people in the park had driven there. Too many cars.

The pictured snapper is stretching its neck. It is reaching up to the surface to get a breath. It looks primordial, which it is. The above specimen is in the zoo, but the following one was photographed, less than a mile away, on the bike trail in Forest Park. I think that this one would give your bike tire a little more than a snakebite flat, if you got too close to it.

On another bike ride, along this same stretch of trail, I saw two Wood ducks outsmart a snapping turtle. It was spring then and the pair were shepherding a flock of their ducklings. As the turtle made its play, the male duck faked an injury, luring the turtle away from its children. Circling the pond, it only just managed to keep ahead of its pursuer. All the while, the female was leading the ducklings away to safety. When they were all safely away, the male duck just flew away. Better luck next time.

Bike Path Snapper