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I hope you were able to enjoy the spring-like weather while it was here, but alas, winter has returned.  Time to get out the snowshoes (well, maybe not just yet but based on the forecast you’ll be in need of them next week) and see what’s going on in the woods.  It is mating season for many of our woodland neighbors- skunk, coyote, raccoon, great-horned owl to name a few.  With snow on the ground it’s much easier to see who has been where and doing what.

Heading down the trail I can see that the pair of red fox that I’ve been casually tracking over the last few weeks is still about. It’s their season, too, so I’m not going to follow them today.  Instead, I wander over to the vernal pool which finally has some water in it.  This pool is fed by groundwater and typically fills in autumn, but it has been dry since mid-summer.  The pool is ice-free, for the most part, as the seeping groundwater is about 38°F.  The open water attracts many species of wildlife, including the aforementioned fox.

At the base of a nearby tree, snow fleas abound.  These are not actually fleas, rather, they are springtails and they look like pepper dancing on the snow.  They are so tiny but so numerous- there must be millions of them!

Movement ahead catches my eye; I see a dark, ferret-like creature.  Staying very still, I am soon rewarded as it stops to look in my direction and I get a fabulous look at the white chin.  A mink!  The animal continues on, bounding along a stone wall and disappears from my view.

Reaching my destination (the greenhouse) I pause to watch the birds feast on sunflower seed.  Black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, hairy woodpecker, blue jay, junco…this is a busy place!  I am delighted to hear the song of the eastern bluebird nearby.  Although winter has returned spring is on its way.



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