Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7, 2016

It was another crazy week weather-wise, which is to say, completely normal.  I think the weather and Wall Street are having a competition to see who can be the most volatile this year.  We had 50 degrees and rain which left the lake shrouded in fog and covered with water.

This is February?

That was immediately followed by a tiny snow storm before the lake could freeze, squashing any hopes for more skating.
Now that's better

Then temperatures dropped to 14 degrees, which kept the snow around for a day or two, and making it at least look like winter again.

The cold air returned just in time to save the New England Pond Hockey Classic, with only a few wet spots in the corners of some of the 25 rinks set up on Lake Waukewan.
The ladies ripping up the ice on Waukewan

Cider Bellies kept the players warm with coffee and donuts
The thin layer of new snow made it possible to see who's been out in the woods, and I learned that a pair of foxes cruised through the yard the night after the storm.

These tracks are so small and round that at first I thought they were from a bobcat, but the symmetry of the print and the pyramid between the toes and the heel pad indicate fox.  The pair walked so perfectly in each others foot prints that I never knew there were two of them until the trail separated into two for a short stretch before melding back into one.

The object of their night time excursion was also evident.

Lots of mice tracks throughout the woods, running from hole to hole to find food while evading all the predators, dragging their tails along behind them.

But not all of them were successful in their travels.  One unlucky furry critter popped out of its hole when someone - probably a mink based on the location right on the waters edge - was passing by.

There was only a short skirmish, with little blood shed, but there was clearly a casualty, and some happy mink had secured its dinner.
Short pieces of fur - from a mouse?

All those predators are missing an easy meal by not stopping by our house during the day;  one morning I counted ten red squirrels out running around the house.  And the gray squirrel looks like easy prey, up on the feeder, distracted by its mission.

This volatile winter has brought about many changes in the surface of the lakes - ice, water, snow, slush, ridges and drifts, but has also brought along with it some unusual and spectacular sights.

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