The park staff hadn't cleaned off the trail when Jeanne stopped to take a photo. Abby and Emmy waited patiently.
The maintenance man blew the snow off the stairs and retreated to his truck. I don't know if he was going back for a shovel, gravel, or deicer. Probably all three. The staff does a good job of keeping the stairs free of ice and snow. The park was closed on Friday because of the ice and snow.
Here is Octagon Prairie on February 15. Jeanne, the dogs, and I broke a path through the snow as we walked.
The following Friday, Tom and I took a birding trip to Lake St. Mary's. The day was mostly sunny but the wind was strong so the temperatures in the 40s F (4.44 C) felt more like the 20s F (-6.6 C). The lake was ice covered except around the spillways and the few places where large amounts of water flow into the lake. In one of these small areas of open water, we saw this Redhead. Tom took the photo in a moment when the sun was hidden by a big cloud.
As we were driving slowly down the country roads, Tom turned to me, "I think I just saw a Red-winged Blackbird sitting on that wire with the Starlings." I didn't see it but I hoped he was right. Red-winged Blackbirds are usually the first migrants back from the south. They are in our area for spring, summer, and fall. American Robins, which many Ohioans consider the first migrants to return, are seen in Southwestern Ohio all year around though there are fewer of them during the winter..
The 40s were warm enough for the snow to melt even if we felt cold and by Saturday morning, large areas of fields and lawns were free of snow. The ice at Charleston Falls had started to melt leaving tall freestanding pillars of ice.
Octagon Prairie was clear of snow but we waded through water streaming across the trail in a couple low areas.
As we passed a young tree, I heard a bird sing. It was a Red-winged Blackbird sitting on the topmost branch of the tree. Jeanne tried to get a bit of video of it as it sang. But, the sun was so bright that her camera screen was black which made getting a photo impossible.
But...the Red-winged Blackbird males are back. Spring is on the way even though we have been told to expect 11 degrees (-11.6 C) for our low temperature tonight.