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By looking at my previous image, you can probably guess why my thoughts went to summer colours and warmth! I found this beautiful Echinacea photo (taken on 4 September 2013 at the Reader Rock Garden) last night, after being out all day on a fun and enjoyable birding trip north of the city, with superb birder, Phil. The weather forecast turned out to be far from accurate and we found ourselves driving the backroads with snow swirling over the roads and in some places, you couldn't see where the sky ended and the earth began. Everywhere and everything was white. Winter outside the city is so very different from facing icy roads and heavy traffic in the city, with roads now edged in piles of dirty brown snow that has been cleared from the roads and just won't melt. Out in the countryside, winter has a pure, clean beauty, and we both loved the simplicity of this white landscape. Neither of us knew this area, east of Highway 22, though I may have been driven in some parts on a birding trip or two a few years ago. It's an area that is way beyond my driving comfort zone, so this was real treat for me. The cold, windy weather must have kept the birds taking shelter, though Phil did find a Great Horned Owl and, on the way back to the city, a Merlin. Lots of Ravens about and a few Sparrows and Pigeons, but no Snow Buntings or Horned Larks. I was just happy seeing the wintry countryside and a number of beautiful old barns. The shapes of these seem so different from barns that I see south of the city. Several white barns, too, not the usual red. Thanks so much for a great day, Phil - much appreciated!