Although it is just a few miles south of where I live, I have neglected becoming familiar with Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area. On New Year’s Day, our LMN-NE Board Member and Treasurer Stephanie Herrmann mentioned First Day Hike on Facebook. I decided immediately to take up the challenge and wanted to go somewhere close to home, in part because it was sooooo cold. Brrrrr. Russell Sage, here I come!

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The beauty of ice on a mudhole! How often do we get to see that? (Photo by Bette Kauffman)

In fact, I learned that Russell Sage is well worth many more visits. I walked down just one ATV trail–the WMA is set up primarily for hunters. So be it. I wore my hunter orange vest! And I was there for just two hours, moving slowly. Nevertheless, in the dead of winter, I enjoyed what I saw and will go back.

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Palmetto (Sabal)–the first thing in the forest to go green. (Photo by Bette Kauffman)

I already shared a bunch of photos in our Facebook group, including those of my encounter with a raccoon. They aren’t quite good enough for the blog. In my excitement, I couldn’t get my most high-powered lens focused! But I always find beauty, and this outing was no exception.

I saw LOTS of birds,  but the only decent shot I got is below. Many thanks to Board member Jeff Barnhill for assistance in identifying the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis).

BTW, First Day Hikes is a real thing. Next year, I hope LMN-NE will have one of its own!

White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) (Photo by Bette Kauffman)

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