Hike and Sketch at Bullfrog Lake

Tomahawk Slough winter sketch

33°F  cloudy, breeze
orange and red trail

Hiking today seems like a workout, for I am wearing regular hiking boots and not snow shoes. There are several inches of snow on the ground. I love to hear the “crunch, crunch, crunch” sound with every step.

As I hike the red trail which is much narrower than the other trails, with a canopy of vines and shrubs, surprised, I notice several robins (maybe 30-40) all around me in the tree tops. I stand still to listen to that familiar short noise they make…it’s not a call, it’s not a chirp… well, maybe it’s a real low  fast chirp. The sound I always hear in spring and summer. I always thought that robins migrated further south in my state (Illinois) in the winter because I never see them. Today, they were all around me.

Suddenly, I hear a blue jay make an alert call! In a frantic rush, the whole flock of robins fly west in an instant. Oh I wish you could have heard that magical sound of a whole flock fleeting at once and you are in the middle of it!!!! It’s like a flying stampede of horses….such power! such force!

*weak in the knees*

About 30 seconds later, one lone Cooper’s Hawk appears with nothing in his talons. Unsatisfied with his disappointing find of no birds, he flies off. To my surprise instantly four chickadees greet me above my head. They were hiding.


Here is what the red trail looks like. It’s more narrow than it appears to be from the picture.


Near the end of my trail is Tomahawk Slough. This is what I decided to sketch, however I must admit I did it at home from my computer for the winds picked up significantly and I was chilled. I love how the snow looks on top of the slough.


What an awesome structure this Queen Anne’s Lace is in the winter, dolloped with snow. This will definitely be a sketch or maybe a full-blown painting in the near future.

I hope you enjoyed this short hike at Bullfrog Lake. remember, you can’t get cabin fever if you go out in the winter! Try a short visit in the wood.


  1. Flocks of robins have been arriving here lately (& our Wintering goldfinches and chipping sparrows are back in large numbers.) I know what you mean about the thunder of a flock taking off all at once. Quite the experience!
    Happy New Year. My best to you & yours. 🙂

  2. Thanks for taking us on your walk and your fine sketch. I had a similar experience a few days ago when I heard the titmouses and chicadees sounding the alarm at the feeders. I was outside coming to the back door when I saw a sharp-shinned hawk fly into our patio door. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt and flew off.

  3. Lana: Yes, Happy New Year to you and yours! Let nature keep us in a state of awe…forever!!!

    Joan: It is amazing to hear an alarm call and as a human, know what it means. As if we can translate bird language! Only a select few can do this. Our mission should be to teach others, so that they too can experience such a thrilling moment! Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year.

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