On Friday morning, after dropping my youngest son at school, I pedaled north along the waterfront bike path. I wanted to check to see if the path was free of snow. There was some still built up along the edges in the usual place.
The morning was very pretty without a blustery wind which is very common along Lake Champlain. I was able to listen to the gulls and geese. I always enjoy early spring and late fall on this trail. Leaves have yet to obstruct the view of the lake.
Up ahead in the shadows a big bird strutted onto the path.
I mulled over what I had just seen as I made my way to my turnaround point at the bridge across the Winooski River.
I wondered if I had seen a turkey. But something about it wasn't quite right. As I made my way back the bird was there again! I stopped and watched it for some time then slowly pedaled. The bird started running and amazingly stayed just ahead of me for about 150 feet before taking flight for a few yards. Then it disappeared once again off the trail never to be seen (by me) again.
As soon as I got home I looked it up in my Birds of North America book. It was, unmistakeably, a male ringed-neck pheasant. There was no other bird quite like it, especially with the beautiful long tail.
|photo credit: George F. Mobley, National Geographic|
It's truly miraculous and often inspiring what you can see from a bicycle. This pheasant made my day!