Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25, 2015

Perhaps mother nature has settled into her winter pattern now.  We've had snow - no rain - with more snow on the way, and it sure was cold today with a brutal northwest wind blasting across the lake, whipping up yesterday's fresh snow.

Here's a short clip of what it was like on Lake Wicwas today:

At least it was beautiful out there today.  Yesterday, after the snow, it was completely gray with no color in the world at all.

But the fresh snow allowed getting back on the skis, so I went out to see what was going on around the lake, and I did get a few sights.  Fresh snow, even on a gray day, always fashions an enchanting setting.  These are from the north-west corner of the lake, near the entrance of Dolloff Brook.

There was plenty of activity from the fishermen, perhaps devising their strategy for next week's big fishing derby.

One group was just setting up as we chatted, and before they even set down their tip-up, they had caught a yellow perch.  They took it off the hook and tried to reset it, but again a fish struck before they could lower it down!  I guess the fish are hungry this year.  Unfortunately, some fishermen are not as good stewards of the lake as others.

The gray day made for an interesting scene looking up at Crockett's Ledge above the west shore of the lake. 

I had been up there a few days earlier - on a much prettier day.  One gets a great view of the area from this vantage point this time of year, including a neat perspective on the motorcycle track.
Belknap and Gunstock Mountains in the Distance

It is a tough time of year to be a vegetarian, as the carnivorous predators need to keep up their strength in the harsh weather.  Whether you're a mouse being sought out by a Snowy Owl, or a deer trying to avoid coyotes, life is tough.  On my trip I came across a White Tail Deer that had been driven out onto the lake where it had no chance against one or more coyotes.  

With skinny legs and cloven hooves, they have no hope for survival if they get forced onto the ice.

Just like the owl, the coyotes go after the best parts first, but they will return to take more of it over time. 

The last time I saw this on Lake Wicwas (see 29 January 2014) everything from coyotes to eagles to crows took advantage of the kill.  This will be an important part of the food chain this winter.

The strong wind today partially covered it up with snow, but that won't stop the many animals in the area from feasting on it for the next several weeks. 

They had already ripped one leg off and dragged it away;  perhaps a less aggressive coyote that was being kept away from the main carcass by more dominant animals. 

Don't worry about finding it in the lake next summer - every last bit will be gone long before the ice melts.  Even if we get a foot of snow next week, the animals know where it is, and they will be back.  (It's just off Loon Point if you want to investigate as well.)

At least it is a beautiful final resting place for a beautiful animal.

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