Six on Saturday – Footprints in the Snow, mainly

We had a few inches of heavy snow Thursday night – with temperatures above zero in the foreseeable future  it’ll likely be gone within a few days but this morning it’s still there.  You can see lots of small footprints in the snow – many more than in previous weeks, so I’m thinking a lot of critters have come out of hibernation and are looking for food (aka spring bulbs…) to munch on.  The woodpeckers are hard at it as well, we can hear them all day, and there seems to be plenty of bugs in the dead or dying trees around us.

I asked an experienced nature photographer, Bill Johnson, if he had any tips on shooting in the winter, when all is snow covered and rather bleak looking.  He said try black and white, so I have.

Here’s my Six on Saturday, with thanks to The Propagator for this theme idea.

6 on 6 animal prints in the snow March 3 2018 b small

I started a new composter compartment yesterday afternoon by dumping a bucket of kitchen waste on top of the snow.  This morning there were tracks all around it – I’m assuming from the rabbits that we see back there, going in and out of the burn pile where they’ve spent the winter.

6 on 6 animal prints in the snow March 3 2018 small

I have no idea what these tracks are from — they look alien to me — but they were near the road, just out from under the buckthorn hedge.  Shileau and I are always disturbing a large bird from that area, a grouse or partridge I think –  perhaps it’s scratching away here?

6 on 6 chipmunk prints 2 March 3 2018 small

A family of chipmunks have lived in this stone wall for a few years.  Today is the first I’ve seen of them this year and they’ve been busy, emerging from several holes in the wall to quickly scurry across the yard to another pile of stone…

6 on 6 chipmunk prints 1 March 3 2018 small

…here.  I’m already worried about the perennials and bulbs that are planted here.

6 on 6 dead tree leaning March 3 2018 small

One of several leaning dead trees along the fence line.  Luckily most are far enough from the driveway that, even if they topple, I won’t have to do any major cutting up.  I like to leave fallen trees as they are for the most part, to provide food and habitat for bugs and critters.

6 on 6 Sedum and Snow March 3 2018

I’ve added this Sedum just because.

 

Tree Transformation

Paper Birch November

One of my favourite trees is the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera).  Although some people give it a pass, saying it’s ‘messy’ or ‘short lived’ or ‘disease prone’ I say “Who Cares?”   Just look at  the gorgeous white bark, and marvel at how layers will peels off, only to reveal a new surface even more brilliant than the last.

I especially like to watch as young trees, with grey brown bark that makes them very similar in appearance to other Betula, start to turn white.  You can see in this photo the trunk on the left is still quite dark, while the larger trunk in front, older perhaps by just a year, is revealing its bright mature colour.

Yes, in our (relatively) warm County it may live only 30 to 40 years, that’s quite possibly longer than I’ll be around!   And it may get attacked by one bug or another – but very few trees these days are resistant to all insects.  And it may indeed shed twigs and, gasp, leaves in fall.  But really, who cares?
Transformation