exploring our amazing natural spaces

Archive for February, 2012

It’s winter somewhere

It’s winter up in the northland where we woke to a Sunday morning temp below 10 degrees. It actually felt like a real February north of about the Duluth line where hiking and skiing happen with great enthusiasm thanks to a 6 inch snow base in many places.

Backyard Visitor

It’s the second year in a row we’ve had a juvenile Cooper’s hawk drop by the backyard feeder looking for a nibble. I can tell when something predatory is nearby (usually a house cat) because it gets very quiet with no songbirds in sight. This young hawk took in the sights for about an hour before spending ten minutes on a rather thorough feather grooming routine.

I love my tail feathers

Oh no that one doesn't look right

Gotta give it some tough love

Wait is someone filming this!?

NW Wisconsin tangent

It’s hard to beat Cable Wisconsin for cross country skiing and this year it’s one of the few nearby locations with good snow. This is the quiet sports section of Wisconsin catering to canoeing, biking, snowshoeing and yes cross country skiing with the famed Birkebeiner and other excellent trail systems.

Native grasses and blue

The juncos especially like to feed on native plants and somehow these grass seeds are still hanging on to perhaps propagate in the next year. Shot with a Canon EOS Rebel at Lake Elmo Regional Park on a welcome sunny afternoon.

Full moon tonight

Don’t forget to watch for the full moon tonight. Below is January’s full moon coming up just below the tree line on the horizon.

February colors

As spring gets closer I love how outdoor colors become more vibrant. This range of colors (green, blue, orange, black, blue/gray) happened within 16 hours…late afternoon, at sunset and then the next day’s morning frost. Click on any picture for a larger image.

London MN

The neighborhood hockey pond was fogged in this morning and sporting a 2″ slushy top with local visibility about 1/2 mile. It’s Ground Hog Day and since no shadow could possibly be cast I’m expecting prognosticators around the state will say winter (what winter?) will be over soon and spring is on the way.