Our forest in winter feels open. Unlike the other seasons, nothing is hidden. It is like walking into a large empty warehouse where the entire space seems to reveal itself, leaving little to explore. Click on the image for a larger view.
It was a dark, snowy weekend. We had our usual visitors to our bird feeder: chickadees, junco, mourning doves, titmice, cardinals, and goldfinches. We usually do not have blue jays at our feeders, even though they are a common bird in Maine. These intelligent birds—they are a member of the crow family—have striking plumage in any season. If they were not so common, they would attract bird watchers from around the world. Click on the image for a larger view.
Just as the sun sets in December, huge numbers of crows come together to roost. I really do not notice these mass gatherings in other months of the year. These groups are not only large, but also noisy. Click on the image for a larger view.
Naomi and I went to Bailey Island this weekend to enjoy one of the few sunny days we have in the last month. The winter sun hangs low in the sky, setting just past four in the afternoon—this was taken at 3 pm. Click on the image for a larger view.
We had about three inches of snow today. This is the first storm of any significance this season. I went out to walk through our forest and field to enjoy the event. The light is gray like sharpened steel. Snow muffles sound, making the forest silent except for the laughter of the neighborhood children playing outside. Click on the image for a larger view.
We woke this morning to the first snow of winter. Nothing bad, just a thin layer of crusty ice. The weather has been so mild and warm this year that the snow was a not so gentle reminder the season is changing. One of our blackberry briers is in the foreground. It looked very different in August. Click on the image for a larger view.
The forest transitions at its own pace. Microclimates create individual schedules for areas throughout our forest. The beech and oak are the last to lose their leaves, although the beach will not drop their foliage until they are ready to renew it in the spring. Click on the image for a larger view.
The days in Maine are shorter and the nights deeper. Coming home from our weekly grocery shopping, we were greeted by the winter Milky Way rising through the forest. That small bright patch in the center of the image is the Pleiades. Orion, which stalks that constellation across the sky, is just above the horizon at the bottom of the frame. Click on the image for a larger view.
We had a dark, wet weekend. Gray and overcast is not an infrequent forecast in fall. But the prediction does not do justice to the striking color remaining on the forest. Sadly, the foliage season is coming to an end. Click on the image for a larger view.
While not exactly edible, the falling foliage is the fruit of our forest. In the summer, it gives the gift of shade, in the fall, the gift of color. It then protects and feeds the ground. I am not sure of the fungus, yet another kind of fruit, but the green is a wilting lily of the valley. Click on the image for a larger view.