We drove home early enough on Monday morning for me to entertain thoughts of a bird outing at Pt. Mouillee. So, after lunch, I grabbed the bike and headed there with the hopes of finding some of the Snowy Owls seen last week. Today though, I parked the car at Siegler Rd. and headed out the North Causeway.
A pair of old-timers returning from the dikes said that riding was fine, and that they had seen a black-spotted white owl in the Long Pond Unit. So, I unloaded the bike and headed out. The ground was bare, and frozen, so riding was surprising easily (he said too soon)...
As I arrived at the junction of the Vermet and Long Pond Units I noticed massive snow drifts on the dike ahead. Figuring it was only temporary, I continued on toward the east side of the Vermet Unit, stopping dead in my tracks just a few yards down the road. Knee-deep snow drifts that were frozen and crusty. I walked the bike for the first quarter mile, and realized that the snow drifts were only getting deeper. Already out of breath and with my heart pounding, I decided to head down the side of the bank and walk along the edge of the open ice.
Walking the bike was easier, but now I had to worry about the bike slipping out from under the wheels and me losing balance on the snow/ice drifts. But it was easier going this way, so I continued on. I figured I could walk the ice edge all the way around if the east end of the Banana was covered in snow.
When I got to the east side of the Vermet Unit I left the bike and scope and climbed up the snow-covered boulders lining the shoreline. Careful not to slip, I got up on the dike and found 'some' bare ground to the south. Leaving the camera at the top I headed back down the side and carried the scope and bike up onto the dike. From there I rode for about 20 yds. before having to walk/carry the bike through yet more snow drifts.
By now the ground was sufficiently bare enough for me to ride all the way down to Cell 3, where I found it ice-covered and free of any signs of life. I scoped the entire Vermet Unit, and the Humphries Unit, and could only spot a pair of Coyote trotting along the west side of marsh. No Snowy Owls. A Northern Harrier made a brief appearance along the Middle Causeway, so I headed back that way.
More snow drifts meant walking the bike the entire distance back to the dike separating Long Pond and Vermet Units. Still, no Snowies. Once back on bare ground I rode back to the North Causeway and back to the car, exhausted, sweating, and cold.