|First snow of the season|
One of the most stunning moments of a New England winter storm is when the sun breaks out the following morning, illuminating the landscape with dazzling light. Just at sunrise some scattered breaks in the clouds let a few rays though the cover.
And soon mother nature had unfurled enough of the sky to reveal the spectacle that is New Hampshire in winter.
It was a nice dense snow, heavy enough to bear a ski trip on fairly even terrain without hitting bottom, though only for a day or two as warm temperatures thinned it out quickly. There wasn't a lot of opportunity to discover who's out traveling around the lake, as a crust soon formed on the top so the animals don't leave footprints. But I saw deer prints, a few fox prints, and these weasel prints the morning of the storm.
The crust was partly due to a thin layer of freezing rain which fell after the snow; light enough to not cause any problems with power lines, but just enough to cast a crystal layer on the world.
This winter will at least tie the record for the latest ice-in date I have seen on Lake Wicwas. As of today there is still open water on the lake.
|Open water on Lake Wicwas on January 3rd|
Ice-in usually happens sometime in the first three weeks of December; I have only seen it wait until January once, and that was the winter of 2012-2013 where it froze over on January 4th. I think there's a good chance it will freeze up tonight or tomorrow, but with winds forecast for the next couple of days we'll have to wait and see - it may be the latest ever.
One of our lake friends did observe that aliens had tried to land on the still-soft surface, but then thought better of the decision (thanks NC!).
|Alien Landing Site?|
With cold temps and snow we decided it was safe to bring out the bird feeders and within hours the first visitors had arrived: gold finches, in droves.
|Goldfinch in winter plumage|
|This makes my feet cold|
They were soon followed by the chick-a-dees, nuthatches, juncos, and woodpeckers. The birds have clearly abandoned their summer homes even if they're staying north for the winter.
|Last summer's nest abandoned for the winter|
It took a while, but the glory of winter is finally here in New Hampshire.
|Warm morning light seeps through the winter clouds|