Sunday, February 4, 2018

February 4, 2018 - Pond Hockey

We're into the heart of winter now, and the next few weeks are full of action in the Lakes Region.  This weekend Meredith hosted the New England Pond Hockey Classic on Meredith Bay which is always a vibrant and well attended event.
26 rinks of simultaneous hockey
Hockey, ice and beer - what could go wrong?
  Saturday was cold and bright with the action in full swing.

The next generation of hockey players were in attendance, ensuring the event has a bright future.
The little ones have their act together
Sunday brought the playoffs which were held in less than ideal hockey conditions of light snow falling, but nothing stops these tough guys and gals.  All the action will be done in time for the Superbowl.

Also taking place on Saturday were demonstrations of scuba diving - under the ice!  They were offering guided dives in case you are interested in seeing what it's like down under where the fish swim in the winter.

Does this look like fun?  (I'm sure it's absolutely amazing down there.)
If you're also wondering how the weight of all those people, cars, and trucks can be supported by the ice, here's a clue:  this is a chunk of the ice that was cut out to open the hole for the divers.
The ropes people are holding are the safety lines for the divers who are now under the ice
Beautifully clear water in Lake Winnipsaukee

Back on Lake Wicwas things are considerably more sedate.  There are a few ice fishermen out on the lake but I haven't seen the couple of bob-houses that usually appear by this point in the winter.  It's quiet enough here for birds - in this case a crow - to walk aimlessly around on the lake.

Though I expect this crow did have an aim - I'm sure it was on the hunt for some morsel to eat.

The light snow we received this week freshened things up a bit and brought out the snow birds in force - 40 of them in one flock today.

These little guys also spend a lot of time walking around on the snow in search of food, though they leave much smaller traces than the crows.

Fresh snow also makes it evident that pileated woodpeckers search for insects even in the winter.

Nuts, seeds, and fruit left on hardy trees such as winterberry are the primary food sources for pileated woodpeckers in the winter, but they obviously will also hunt down nests of ants in trees.  My question is, how do they know where to hunt when the ants are quiet and still?  Perhaps they rely on memory from past successful meals.

The much advertised super-blue-blood moon made an appearance over Lake Wicwas, though we were too far east to observe much of the eclipse;  just a tinge of darkness was evident on the top side of our only natural satellite as it set directly in line with the earth and the sun.
The super blue blood moon sets at 7:45 am on January 31, 2018
Even the sky wanted in on the action now that it's prime time in New Hampshire, and the excitement will only grow as thousands of winter anglers descend next week on Meredith Bay for the Ice Fishing Derby, and then the following week Laconia hosts the Championship Sled Dog Derby.  Make your plans now!

(Go Pats!)

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