Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012

Fluctuating temperatures, snow, ice, and rain have made for unusual snow conditions around Lake Wicwas this winter.  But it's been cold enough that the ice is still getting thicker;  I measured 14 inches about 50 feet from shore.  The skiing and snow shoeing isn't much fun after the latest round of freezing rain, but following a couple of cold nights, it left the lake surface in good shape for skating today.  It's not the glass-smooth surface of last winter, but it's good enough to skate the entire lake - as long as you skate around all the animal tracks that froze in the slush!
Coyote Tracks

With the surface frozen, we can't tell how much coyote traffic is happening now.

It was a pretty day, sunny and not too cold even with the brisk westerly breeze, and we met Tom and Annie out enjoying the lake as well.  We received a report of a car on the ice! 

I don't know if this is the final chapter of the deer kill, but the story is nearing the end.  First one leg disappeared, followed by two more a day or two later.  The coyotes dragged the carcass quite a way across the ice, probably tugging on it to tear parts off, leaving quite a trail in the slush.

There is just a skeleton left now, and almost every bit of flesh has been picked off the bones.

The jaw bone was separated by 20 yards, and has been cleaned well enough to make my dentist jealous.

The differentiation between the front teeth, to strip foliage from plants, and the molars, to chew it up, is stark.

Someone will probably come back for the remaining leg, and it will be interesting to see if any of the smaller bones are taken away.  This animal gave up its life, but in the process it has provided tremendous sustenance to a wide range of wildlife around Lake Wicwas.

Linda and I recently spent a very enjoyable evening with a wonderful group of people and very generous hosts on Arbutus Hill.  Everyone shared a great appreciation for the special part of the world here in Meredith, and we heard many stories of local nature and events.  One couple who lives on the west shore of Lake Winnisquam sent me this beautiful picture of a bald eagle (credit: Stan Brallier) that was taken from their backyard, and I just have to share it.

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