A Winter Wonderland in January, 2019

Snowstorms, wind and bitter cold can greatly reduce wildlife sightings in our winter landscapes. Wildlife numbers reach an annual low, most surface waters freeze, and  animals conserve energy by moving less and living in sheltered habitats. Adding to the difficulty of wildlife viewing in winter is the ethical constraint that demands minimum disturbance of animals that are trying to survive four or five months of resource scarcity.

Sometimes I respond to the challenges of winter by photographing wildlife around backyard feeders, then shifting my focus to landscapes when out and about. Such was the case most of this month.

icewoodmanpond8jan19#2742e7c4x6

Wave ice on a partially frozen pond

trail11jan19#2962e5c8x10

The peace, quiet and virgin landscape that follow a heavy snow create the illusion of  the isolation and solitude associated with a wildland journey

streamcb12jan19#3041e5c8x10

With the right perspective, blue skies dress up surface waters, adding color to otherwise monochromatic scenes

ice17jan19#3312e5c8x10

Over time, spring water seeping and freezing over a limestone rock face takes on a life of its own

marsh22jan19#3610e2c4x6

A favorite cattail marsh, the tussocks accented with a blanket of deep, fluffy snow

creek22jan19#3543e2c4x6

A small, nondescript creek morphs into a thing of beauty when buried in snow

streamcb14jan19#3120e5c4x6

The visual effects of subzero temperatures and morning sun on local waters

snowdrift12jan19#2990e2c3x5

Dense vegetation along a fence row, performing double duty: wildlife habitat and wind reduction; these are drifts on the lee side (1 of 2 images)

snowdrift12jan19#2989e2c4x6

Powdery snow, blown and drifted across corn stubble on the lee side of a brushy fence row

tree22jan19#3538e7c8x10

The sentinel: An old, battered sugar maple tree that refuses to concede to wind, snow, ice, salt and grazing cattle. She still sparkles in a coating of frost.

Photos by NB Hunter (January, 2019). © All rights reserved.

 

 

A Winter Walk (March, 2018)

Finally, after three storms and several feet of snow, the sun came out. I buckled up my snowshoes and set out to accomplish three things: pack trails for future walking and access to the property; capture some unusual, late winter scenes; and share this lovely late-winter day with friends who might be unable or unwilling to navigate waste-deep snow cover.

My woodland walk started at the house, followed a trail dating back to the construction of a small dairy farm in 1854, then looped back to the house. The adventure covered less than a mile but was nearly two hours in duration.

House15Mar18#0834E5c4x6

Home; the “1854 House”

AppleTree15Mar18#0837E2c5x7

A Wild Apple Tree

Trail15Mar18#0903E5c5x7

164 year-old farm trail with a packed snowshoe path in the center (1 of 3)

Trail15Mar18#0907E5c3x5

Chickadee15Mar18#0859E7c8x10

Chickadee feeding on White Spruce seeds in a windbreak/wildlife habitat planting (1 of 2)

Chickadee15Mar18#0864E3c8x10

Trail15Mar18#0901E2c5x7

Return trip down the woodland trail

AppleTree15Mar18#0840E3c5x7

Wild apple tree in snow and morning light; mission accomplished!

Photos by NB Hunter (15March2018). © All Rights Reserved.

Snowy Landscapes

As is often the case with a narrow band of “lake-effect” snow, today’s weather was a mix of snow squalls and sun. This might be the type of weather that gave rise to the notion that it is wise to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Cardinal25Feb15#091E2c8x10

Cardinal during a lake-effect snowstorm; 2/25/15

When it looked like the bright skies might outlast the squalls, I took a short, scenic drive to bring myself up-to-date on the local snow conditions and wildlife coping strategies.

DeerDrifts25Feb15#144E2c8x10

Deer traveling between thickets of food and cover on the sunny, lee side of windswept farmland

DeerYard25Feb15#163E2c8x10

Deer “yarding” in a sheltered, lowland habitat dominated by Northern White Cedar and Eastern Hemlock; cedar (at left in photo) is a preferred winter food

FarmTree25Feb15#122E2c8x10

Back-lit Sugar Maple on on the edge of a pasture

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

Cold and Snowy Highlights from Central New York

Winter landscapes are uniquely beautiful and dynamic. They also convey the environmental dramas that unfold, for better or worse, as animals respond to subnormal temperatures and deepening snow cover.

These images are a modest and heavily biased sample of winter scenes in Central New York captured February 8 – 13, 2015. Temperatures were well below freezing and average snow depth was about 20 inches.

Chickadee11Feb15#017E2c5x7

Everyone’s favorite winter companion: Black-capped Chickadee

Snowblowing13Feb15#142E2c8x10

Clearing deep snow from a windmill access road

RedSquirrel13Feb15#161E2c8x10

Red Squirrel emerging from its protective tunnel beneath deep snow

FarmPasture11Feb15#080E2c4x6

Farmland

RedSquirrel13Feb15#056E2c8x10

Red Squirrel, on full alert

Haybales11Feb15#092Ec3x5

Hay bales (poly-wrapped round bales)

Deer20inSnow11Feb15#110E2c4x6

Deer feeding and grooming in deep snow

frostyTrees11Feb15#043Ec4x6

Frosty morning in the hills

Doe13Feb15#007Ec8x10

Mature doe, with her two fawns nearby

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Snow!

We had our first real snowfall of the year yesterday, a couple of inches of wet, heavy stuff. This post is dedicated to all of my friends who have either moved or migrated to warmer places … and are longing to see November snow! The pleasure was all mine!

QAspen8Nov14#015Ec5x7

The last of the aspen leaves

Blackberry8Nov14#018E

Blackberry

Stream8Nov14#020Ec4x6

Snow reflections in a tiny stream

JapBarberry8Nov14#026E2c8x10

Wild Japanese Barberry, escaped from cultivation

Doe8Nov14#041Ec8x10

Mature White-tail, doe

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

The First Snow

The first significant snowfall of the season is always exciting. It’s usually just a few inches, and gone within a few days, but it offers a fresh, new landscape that is rich in subject matter. Unlike mid-winter when landscapes tend to be monochromatic and lack visual variety, a snow-covered landscape in the fall provides a backdrop for colorful plants and all sorts of wildlife activity.

Although I’m currently preoccupied with following the White-tail rut, I couldn’t resist taking my camera for a walk on November 8, in the midst of our first snowfall of the season.

WildAppleSnow11Nov11#011E2

Wild Apple tree with persistent fruit

DoeFawns8Nov13#035E

White-tailed Deer: A mature doe and her two fawns (1 of 2 images)

 

DoeFawns8Nov13#030E2c5x7

I featured Winterberry (Ilex verticillata ) in a recent post, but something was missing – winter!

Winterberry8Nov13#013E

Winterberry Holly

Winterberry8Nov13#020Ec8x10

Winterberry Holly

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.