Today was a beautiful, clear, sunny day. I had a group of about 10 people signed up to go snowshoeing. The snow isn't great anymore. There's still plenty of it, but with warmer weather, and still freezing nights, it has become very icy and crusty, turning to slush later in the day. But they still really wanted to go. So we went.
As we gathered at our starting area, a bird flew into a nearby tree, and I suddenly knew I'd regret not bringing my binoculars. I did. Later, flying above the ridge line was a hawk. It was very white underneath, but I was able to pick out a few field marks to ID it as a very pale red-tail.
We later saw moose tracks (common in this area) with several piles of droppings. This group, too, was impressed with the number of droppings one moose can produce in a day.
We talked about and observed little black snow fleas, or springtails, which are always interesting to watch on pure white snow. A few other insects were out, as well as some spiders. All of those interested this group to no end.
Afterwards they offered to treat me to lunch. How could I refuse. It was a lovely ending to wonderful afternoon out in the snow for one of the last times this year. And a good lesson was reinforced: If you think there is the slightest chance you might want your binoculars, take them.