Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Winter has returned to Lake Wicwas, and just in time for people to enjoy the holidays and extended vacations.  This past weekend there were lots of people out on the lake - I saw hikers, skiers, people ice fishing, people snowshoeing, and the first snow mobile tracks on the lake.  Sunday night brought our first heavy, wet snow of the season, what I call cement snow.  It tends to stick on the trees even after the inevitable northwest winds that follow a New England storm blow through.

It gets plastered to everything, and freezes on hard, bending branches and trees, but making for beautiful winter scenes.

The contrast in light makes things stand out that I have missed even though I likely walked right past them the day before.  Here I saw a tree that has been freshly harvested by the Pileated Woodpecker, searching for the eggs of carpenter ants left to hatch this spring.

And Linda caught this Red Fox trotting across the lake, taking a short cut to one of its favorite hunting grounds. 

This is the time of year when red fox pair up - they have been solitary since raising their kits, but now they are preparing for their courtship in late winter.  Their coats have built up their full winter thickness which allows them to hunt on cold winter nights, although on nights like this week, when it may get below zero, they may may spend more time in their den.

I recently learned that red fox are not native to North America.  It seems the British were getting frustrated hunting the indigenous gray fox - because they can climb trees, which rather defeated their whole hunting strategy using dogs and horses.  So they brought over some of their favorite red foxes rather than having to adapt their sport to the local fauna.

Here we are, not even out of December, and already well into the depths of winter.  Meredith Bay on Winnipesaukee is already frozen over, which is good news for the fishing derby and the New England Pond Hockey Classic.  We probably won't see the ground again until late March or April, especially if the weather pattern keeps bringing us snow twice a week!

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and interesting post, didn't know that about the red fox. keep it up!