Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 2015

Just as forecast, the coldest air of the season arrived this past week, bring several days of temperatures below zero, with the coldest morning registering -12° F.  With many days of below freezing temperatures, the ice on Lake Wicwas should be safe for most activities, short of automobiles and airplanes.  On one of the coldest nights, January 5th, the Full Wolf Moon rose over the lake.
The January Wolf Moon
There are no wolves in New Hampshire today, but the coyotes might have been out howling (or maybe tucked away in their dens on a cold night).  January through February is mating season for coyotes - what a romantic setting for them!

One very cold night extracted a bit of moisture our of the air, depositing a thin layer of dry snow on the  crust left by the previous rain.  I saw no coyote signs, but these precise animal tracks were left by a fox we saw walking along the edge of the lake.

Fox and other light animals have easy travel on this winter surface, but not the heavier animals, including humans.  The thick ice-crust on top of several inches of light, dry snow make for inhospitable travel - unstable, sharp, noisy - for any creature that breaks though the crust.  

I expect the deer are staying in very close quarters;  not only would they be highly vulnerable to coyotes in these conditions, but just walking would lacerate their legs.

The cold temperatures also fashioned a new set of intricate ice structures on any object that was on the ice.

Sometimes even just a bump on the surface of the lake was enough to seed crystal growth. 

I am way too easily amused by the simplest of things....

Remember the great pine cone crop from the White Pines back in August?
August 24, 2014

Well, now they are all on lake after strong winds blew them off the trees.
Pine Cones Scattered by the Wind

It doesn't appear there are any seeds left in them for the birds and the squirrels;  they have long since been released onto the ground to germinate next spring's seedlings.

With just an inch or two of light snow on Friday there was enough cover on the crust to do some skiing on the lake.  I was out yesterday with my nephews and we toured a good part of the lake, watching all the activity.  It was a beautiful, but still cold day.
Bob Houses have Appeared on Lake Wicwas

Winter Fun on the Lake

It has even been cold enough that much of Lake Winnipesaukee has frozen over - bob houses are rapidly sprouting up all over Meredith bay.

It is good to know that winter has finally settled in over the Lakes.

A Winter Afternoon

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