Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow Fun!

We've especially been enjoying the snow and cold temps here in Illinois, when we know 80s are waiting for us in AZ in a couple days! Even here, the temps are climbing and the snowbanks are transforming to slush and dirt-colored mounds.

Back a few days ago when it was still well below freezing, we has some flurries, and I went out to try to capture some snowflake closeup images. A few broken ones, a few 6-sided crystals, but mostly unsuccessful at capturing iconic flakes. These were photographed against the car windshield for a background.

Since the temps were down near 0F, and snowmobiles replaced the boats that normally ply the Fox River in front of the house, we ventured out to get a new vantage of the place - from mid-stream! Melinda was more nervous than I. Interestingly, the snow seemed a lot deeper on land - perhaps swept a little cleaner on the ice-covered river.

With the bitter-cold temps of the first part of our visit, we saw very little wildlife in the woods. Sure the squirrels were active, but few birds or other creatures. After the flurries mentioned above, the next morning we saw fresh deer tracks in our front flagstone, and their paths through the deep snow. They evidently came up close to the house to nibble on some juniper needles. The picture of their paths shows something else that interested me - the large flat snow crystals reflected the sunlight into little glints that were obviously visible. It was like little mirrored points of light in the snow, and was visible whether you looked up sun or at your shadow down-sun. The effect wasn't as apparent after warmer temperatures arrived...

And finally, something we looked forward to on the standard trip to Iowa last Sunday was a stop at Mississippi lock and dam #13, just north of Fulton, Illinois. With the cold temps, the "Mighty Miss" was iced over, except for just below the spillway, where literally 100 or more (that is what we counted) bald eagles gathered and spend the day fishing. After a period of soaring and diving, they hang out in the trees across the river, where they are easily spotted by eye or binoculars. There were also a constant stream of human observers cycling through watching them. When I last lived 30 miles to the west 40 years ago, bald eagles were pretty much unheard of here, but they've sure made a comeback!

1 comment:

David A. Harvey said...

OMG - snow - yuck! Poor Bald Eagles. nice pics though. ~Dave