Friends and relatives often ask why we live in the snow belt. They see news coverage of the winter storms, the monster plow trucks rolling along in tandem generating huge waves of snow, the annual snow totals of 10 feet, the shoveling, etc. Yesterday it was raining at lower elevations but here, with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees, it snowed all day. Small flakes stuck together to form giant ones that dominated the landscape, in the air and on the plants they landed on. I took a hike in the midst of it all.These photos say something about why I enjoy seasonal change, and snow in particular. .
Persistent leaf of American Beech
My exploration started at the house. Triggered by the heavy, continuous snowfall, there was a lot of activity at the feeders and I had to capture a bit of it before moving on.
Chickadee perched in a Star Magnolia near a feeder
Three (?) gray squirrels at a feeder
Gray squirrel on the alert!
Large flakes of wet snow flying through the air and sticking to everything in sight has a dreamy, surreal effect that can’t be captured in full through a lens.
Persistent beech leaves
Fungus on sugar maple
I didn’t see much wildlife on this hike. A freshly killed cottontail (several hours old) in a brushy apple tree thicket caught my attention. The head had been eaten but the rest of the carcass remained. There were also fisher tracks in the area, not yet covered in new snow. I’ve been investigating these tracks for days now, checking the old growth hemlocks and sugar maples in an adjacent woodlot for a den site.
A whitetail doe disturbed while feeding on pruned apple tree branches
The overall snow depth was about 10 inches, deeper in areas where it had drifted or was supported by shrubs and brush. That’s not all that much, but it was that “in-between” condition where it’s too soft and heavy for good snow shoe travel, and too soft and heavy for comfortable foot travel. So after a couple of hours of walking, I took a short drive to check open waters for ducks, geese and possibly an eagle. I saw nothing on the water, watched two crows in a tree above me for a while and decided to call it a day.