It was a very brief visit to Eagle River Nature Center today. Someone yesterday had posted sightings of White-winged Crossbills somewhere near the road to the Center, so I thought I’d bird the area and see if I could find them. Even though it was a very cloudy day, the drive there was beautiful.
At the Center itself, the parking lot was nearly full and very icy. No problem – I had my grippers on my boots. The bird feeders at the back were busy with Pine Grosbeaks, Black and Boreal Chickadees and a happy squirrel.
So I set off down the sloping icy trail thinking I’d take an hour or so for a walk. The first people I saw on the trail were approaching me from down the hill and having difficulty getting up the hill, even though they apparently had well-equipped boots. Soon, I was having difficulty standing in one place. The dark gravel that had been spread on the ice, instead of giving added traction, started sliding on the ice under my feet and completely interfered with the traction of my grippers.
I revised my plans and slipped and slid and inched my way back up to the Center. I watched the feeders a bit more and then slowly drove back toward Anchorage, birding on the way. So, I still need to find some White-winged Crossbills, which last year were numerous and this year are yet to be seen by me.