This snow layered on top of that remaining from prior storms pretty much buried all the undergrowth and formed large drifts where the wind blew the snow across the lake, dumping it on the western shores.
|Blueberries and mountain laurel are buried|
|The ground here grades smoothly to the shore - that mound on the right is all snow|
I took a short snowshoe trip the day after the storm to see who had been out and about, and I found a treasure trove of animal tracks. I first came across the tracks of a coyote bounding along through the deep snow.
|A mark dropped, not sprayed|
Those of you who saw the bobcat post on February 19th will know that I'm guessing this sign in the middle of its track makes me think this was a female coyote.
The most prevalent tracks I saw were from weasels - they were everywhere.
|A pair of weasels traveling along the trail|
I didn't follow any of these tracks, rather they just kept crossing the trail, often following right along the trail for long sections, sometimes revealing the appearance of a pair traveling together (weasels tend to remain as a pair throughout the year).
Here one of them dug down into a hole to look for a mouse, their favorite food, though they will take any other small animal they can find - they are ferocious predators.
|It looks like it came up empty|
|A mouse preceded the weasel here|
I know that otters love to slide along on their bellies in the snow, but this was the first time I had seen such activity by a weasel.
I was intrigued by the marks on either side of the main slide which look like perhaps their feet drag along beside their body. As we'll see in a moment, this is not nearly so evident in otter slides.
In one area I think there was a set of bobcat tracks following along beside our weasels.
|Bobcat on the left?|
Not much farther along there appeared the tracks of the much larger River Otter, the size difference perhaps not evident in pictures but striking in comparison to the weasel.
|The much larger otter slide|
They are certainly fun-loving creatures, even creating their own roller coasters complete with twists and turns.
|Otter roller coaster|
Note there is no evident foot drag beside the belly slide of the otter.
Coyote, bobcat, weasel, otter - all of these animals were present within just a half-mile stretch of trail near the lake. It makes me appreciate what is meant by a "co-occurrence" area and why it's so important to protect these special places.
This last storm put us over the average snow fall for New Hampshire and will keep winter activities in good shape for some time. What a difference a year makes: today, the lake is in full winter dress.
|March 18, 2017|
While last year at this time we thinking about fishing, boating, and swimming.
|March 18, 2016|
The warm winter of 2015-2016 gave us the shortest ice season ever, with ice out on March 18th. This year it's looking like we'll be much closer to our typical date around April 15th. Only time will tell. Spring arrives tomorrow!