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.
Wave ice on a partially frozen pond
The peace, quiet and virgin landscape that follow a heavy snow create the illusion of the isolation and solitude associated with a wildland journey
With the right perspective, blue skies dress up surface waters, adding color to otherwise monochromatic scenes
Over time, spring water seeping and freezing over a limestone rock face takes on a life of its own
A favorite cattail marsh, the tussocks accented with a blanket of deep, fluffy snow
A small, nondescript creek morphs into a thing of beauty when buried in snow
The visual effects of subzero temperatures and morning sun on local waters
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)
Powdery snow, blown and drifted across corn stubble on the lee side of a brushy fence row
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.