Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A winter Storm

In coastal Virginia we don't normally get heavy snows. Two to three inches is enough to shut things down for the day like they did just last week. But yesterday a big storm formed off the coast and dumped significant snow on us. Something we see maybe every three to five years. The National Weather Service reports 8 inches near us and that is consistent with what we see. There were drifts that are probably pushing a foot or higher. The storm left the yard very pretty.

Early this morning the birds were out filling up to stave off the cold. The high today was only 24F; again something that we only see a few times a year. This White-throated Sparrow was picking seeds that had fallen on top of the snow.

In late morning we saw our neighborhood fox again. This is the third time this month we have seen it up in the main part of the yard. We had only seen a fox a couple of time prior to this year and back in the wooded area. The fox was too "sly" for me to get a good picture but here it is up on the sandbags that I use for flood protection when hurricanes hit. You can see the tail behind the ladder on the side of the shed.

My wife and I bundled up and went out for a walk in the yard. There were a lot of animal prints and I tried to get photos of them.
This is bird prints near the feeder. Obviously there has been a lot of activity today.

The birds were even wandering over the top of the barrel garden. This is the same barrel as in third photo above.

And here is an interesting one that I can't quite tease the story out of. There is a wing print to the left of the feet prints. This would suggest a bird, maybe a dove, trying to take off. But it is only on one side. And the foot prints continue on for quite a while with no more wing prints. So maybe it was just a single flap of the wings. But then there is a pair of small prints to the right that are unconnected to anything else. They differ from the main line of prints and there is nothing in front of or behind them. So maybe another bird landed her to harass the first? Maybe they are from different times and are unrelated? It will remain a mystery to me for now.

Below are the prints of the fox. These were made when we saw it run across the yard just before the picture of the fox tail above.

I was surprised by how deep the prints were. The go almost all the way to the ground. I would have expected the fox to be lighter than that.

And I wrap-up with a few pictures of the marsh. The first is the snow on the pier. The wind did some weird things and cleaned most of the snow off, or never let it accumulate in the first place, but not all of it.

And parts of the creek were frozen but not all of it. Surprisingly, the wider part was frozen, as was the small canal across from us. But the creek was free-flowing at our dock which is in between the frozen spots.

And then, in spots in the marsh where water runs, the snow had collapsed; presumably as the tide went out. It created some interesting visual patterns.

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