Our last day in East Tawas dawned a fiery red. The warmth of the sunrise belied the frigid temperatures outside.
The bright dawn didn't last long, however. A strong southerly wind pressed the clouds northward and closed off the sun. It also pushed to shore the ice that had been far out on the lake, and as far as we could see ice like shards of glass undulated with the waves.
With the change in weather we decided there would be even less to see out at Tawas Point, so we drove up to the Au Sable River instead to take a leisurely walk in the woods were we'd be more protected from the wind. A few miles down River Road from Oscoda is Eagle Run, a network of trails maintained primarily for cross country skiing. It's a nice place to hike, too, and with so little snow we didn't think we'd be in the way of any skiers.
We parked at the boat launch and walked out to a fishing dock along the southern bank of the river. Here we heard the park's namesake eagle, calling from somewhere up river, but they never showed themselves.
Walking back up the road we picked up one of the trails and passed through a stand of red pine. Karin's sharp eye spotted this Roughed Grouse perched high in a tree. I had my short lens so couldn't get much of a photo, but at least it's proof!
We didn't walk far, just enough to loosen up and work up an appetite. One more look at the river and we turned around a headed back to the car. We stopped at Los Quatro Amigos for lunch (very good Mexican food!) and hit the road.
We never did see a Snowy Owl, but as just about everyone knows (NBC Nightly News will have a segment tonight about them) they have migrated quite far south this year, spotted in places like Oklahoma and Missouri. Lori and I will be driving over to Saint Joseph and Lake Michigan this Friday to visit a bookstore and to watch a live art show jury (which I hope will be very educational!) so maybe we'll get lucky yet and spot one along the water there. Still it was nice to get away for a weekend and especially nice to add two more birds to my "life list".