And not a moment too soon!

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The year was a bad one for me. I missed the entire spring-and-summer photography season due to poor health and was sick for most of the year.  I had 6 surgeries, spent some time on life support in the ICU, wore an ostomy for most of the year, and had a course of both chemo and radiation treatment, all of which took some time to recover from.

By December, though, I was ready to formally bid the year good-bye and good riddance by attending a guided nature walk at one of my favorite places, Sterling Nature Center, led by one of my favorite people, Jim D’Angelo.

And it was a sterling event, despite the cold and damp.

DSC01154It was the last hike in 2021, one of the last ones before construction equipment would arrive early in the new year to begin work on a spacious new visitors’ center and meeting hall.

I didn’t expect to see much other than windswept snow, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of winter flora and fauna, all oof which fared much better than I did in 2021.

There was a variety of winter birds hanging around the feeders.  They were the first wildlife we saw before heading toward the Heron Trail.

P3180292The rookery, of course, was empty, but there were plenty of Canada geese.

Who could miss them?  They were making a terrible racket!

Perhaps they regretted their decision not to migrate and enjoy a warmer winter in the south.

Or maybe they just wanted some photographic attention.

In any event, they were duly noted and photographed.

DSC00939There was evidence of beaver activity on the banks of the outlet stream, and it wasn’t long before we saw one in the water.

They look a lot like muskrats, until you notice that they are quite a bit bigger.

And they have a paddle-like tail rather than the long, skinny rat-like tail that the muskrats have.

It was a cold day, and I struggled to keep the camera warm in between shots.  But I was in the sunshine, enjoying nature, appreciating my health, and not worrying about tomorrow.

All in all, a really good day! and a fine way to bid good-bye to 2021 and welcome the New Year.

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