Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3, 2011

Now that April Fool's day is over, we can set the record straight:  Lake Wicwas received about eight inches of new snow on April first.  Old man winter just refuses to let go this year.  Early in the morning I watched an Otter hopping across the cove, right through the wind-driven snow.  And the first crazy waterfowl are back.  There were ducks huddled in the edge of the open water by the dam, trying to keep out of the wind.  And yes, the geese are back as well.  Wouldn't you think they'd enjoy a few more weeks in the warm south before heading back to New Hampshire?

On the plus side, it provided enough snow for probably the last ski trip up to the White Mountain Ledge and Arbutus Hill.  Although by Saturday afternoon the strong sun melted the snow right down to bare ground where there was good exposure, there is still a good foot of snow in most of the woods, with close to two feet in the protected areas.  I found fox tracks along the ridge near the ledge, as well as turkey tracks which I have not seen there before.
Turkey Tracks near the White Mountain Ledge

The sun has brought out the first insects of the year.  By Saturday afternoon there were hundreds of tiny snow fleas on the snow in the warmer areas.  I have seen these as early as January in a warm year, and as late as May.  They are about the size of a grain of sand, and easy to miss, as they look like tree debris that is also scattered over the snow.
Snow Fleas

Today I went for a snow shoe trip - with warmer weather the snow has softened up such that snow shoes are needed again.  The fresh, new snow in the April sun is really quite brilliant, and the streams stand in stark contrast.  There are still enough snow bridges to facilitate crossings.

I found more signs of the pileated woodpecker being active in the area.

Taking a walk along the north side of the lake I found some open water at the in let, but not much. 
Water is flowing well both into and out of the lake, with a nice waterfall by the sugar house.  The lake level is now six inches below full lake level.
 Finally, there were a few signs of spring visible today!
Canada Geese

First Spring Blossom

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