White stuff fell from the sky today–a late date for our first measurable snowfall.
Yesterday, I saw a dandelion blooming in Denmark as I participated in Maine Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count. Today, I assume that yellow blossom is snug below about five or six inches of snow.
While on the bird count, I practiced using my new macro lens, but didn’t have the telephoto lens in my pack because it wasn’t working correctly. Miraculously, I solved that problem this morning and am back in business–taking photos with several different foci.
From the get-go, the feeders provided a source of energy and entertainment. I wonder who ruffled the red-breasted nuthatch’s feathers?
Perhaps it was a cat. Let the tracking season begin! I noticed this set leading from the barn, where we watch anywhere from one to six neighborhood cats emerge. I’m not sure which one owns these prints, but it stayed close to the house rather than making the usual venture to hunt below the feeders.
After scooping the driveway snow, I was antsy to check things out in the woods. The vernal pool is covered with slush–we need a few nights in the deep freeze to firm things up. Looks like we could hit negative digits by next week. Not sure our bodies are acclimated for that this year. Pile on the layers.
Without meaning to, I flushed three ruffed grouse–only their prints showed their presence. And my heart beat.
A flock of turkeys had also traveled my way, leaving behind their trademark signature.
Atop asters and hardtack,
balsam fir and bulrush, each crystal clung.
Some were embraced by cinnamon and sensitive ferns,
Still others formed blankets of protection.
And then I turned my attention elsewhere. The leafy liverwort in the genus Frullania beckoned a closer look. Like mosses and lichens, liverworts are nonvascular flora.
Most are green, but Frullania is brown. As it weaves in and out of the crevasses on the ash bark, its structure reminds me of ricrac, that zigzaggy trim we used to add to sewing and craft projects.
This hornet nest always deserves an examination of structure, texture and design. Constructed from chewed up wood strips mixed with sticky saliva, this is an incredible undertaking.
Each tiny cell once housed an egg. While the males and the old queen died in the autumn, the females who mated have burrowed into tree stumps and other cozy spots to survive the winter months.
One of my favorite finds today: clusters of striped maple samaras dangling from a tree–waiting for the right moment to disperse. Insect wings come to mind.
Because the ground hasn’t frozen and we’ve had so much rain lately, I left a few slushy prints.
As I retraced my steps, I discovered I’d had company. Unfortunately, I never saw the two deer that crossed behind me. We were silent partners in the winter world.
Home again, I’m thankful for the male cardinal that graces the backyard on a regular basis. Sometimes his mate accompanies him, but I didn’t see her tonight.
It’s beginning to look and feel like my favorite season has arrived. Flakes finally fell–YAHOO!