I ended up opting for Oxbow on Sunday, and I'm glad that I did: lifer!! But, let me start at the beginning.....
In my limited experience I've found that it's always a good sign if you hear birds chirping the moment you get out of your car in the parking lot. If you don't hear any bird calls from the parking area, it doesn't necessarily mean you've chosen a bad spot for birding, but it is a good omen if you do hear them. Such was the case at Oxbow on Sunday. I immediately heard chickadees chirping in the nearby trees. So, with a smile I started out on the trail. I hadn't gone too far when I heard a couple of nuthatches calling back and forth to each other. I paused to try to locate them, a number of chickadees were also close by, so I hung around the area for a few minutes. Then, as I was scanning the tree branches--a brilliant spot of blue. It was too blue to be a blue jay, more a shade of royal blue. Up the binoculars came, and I confirmed it--Eastern Bluebird!
Now, maybe it's silly that I haven't seen any bluebirds until now, but I haven't. There were a decent number of them I came across while hiking at Oxbow, I'd say almost a dozen in all. Unfortunately, of all the pictures I snapped, only one or two came out decently (I still hadn't figured out my new camera's manual focus, although you'd better believe I did figure it out the moment I got home) and neither of those captures the brilliant shade of blue. The others are autofocused on branches in between the bird and my lens. Like I said--I know how to use the manual focus now.
The bluebirds were fairly skittish, I kept scaring them off whenever I took a loud step *CRUNCH* into the snow. Then the nuthatches would laugh at me.
I can't wait to go back to Oxbow later this week to (hopefully) get some good pictures of those bluebirds. It was slow going on the trail, since the snow is on top of a layer of ice covering the majority of the trailpath, but in a way that was better--forced me to move at a slower pace, make less noise, and observe more.
I also came across a male Common Merganser while at Oxbow, he was feeding in the Nashua River.
And I shouldn't forget to mention the goldfinches, robins, and downy woodpeckers I saw, too.