Sunday, January 10, 2021

Frozen

 

Local lakes are freezing and the winter already seems long.

Here's an apt haiku from 17th century poet Matsuo Basho: 

Winter solitude -- 

in a world of one color 

the sound of the wind.

Patterns in the ice. Click to enlarge.


 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Creature of the Year Award


Competition was stiff for the 2020 Urban Wildlife Guide Creature of the Year Award. Congratulations to Turkey Vulture for first prize! It's not all about looks -- the vulture scored high on design. Visit the June 28 2020 blog by clicking here to read its story.

In the event that the vulture is unable to fulfill duties as Creature of the Year, the first runner up Raccoon Family will step in. See more in the August 9 blog by clicking here.

Happy New Year! Click me.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

2021


Around this time every year I remember these lines from Rainer Maria Rilke: "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Happy Holidays


Tomorrow brings the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, shortly after which I hope it won't seem like midnight at 5:00. And Christmas is just days away. Enjoy! Stay safe! Brighter days ahead!

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Snowy Owl Sighting

 

Just a snowy owl sitting on a speed limit sign in the sun. Click to enlarge.

What? There's a snowy owl sitting on a speed limit sign in the sun! Ruffling feathers!

For all the times I've been to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in South Jersey hoping to see a visiting winter snowy owl; for the dozens of times I have seen one, but so far out in the marsh that it could have been an old bleach bottle and I wouldn't have known the difference; this week I was rewarded with this close-up drowsy owl.

Snowy owls sometimes make their way to South Jersey during the winter in response to shifting food availability further north where they usually live. Sorry about the food shortage. Welcome to the Jersey Shore!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Meteorological Winter is Here!

During a cold walk last week I saw this leafless sycamore tree among colorful bushes. I think it looks like a winter tree wearing an autumn skirt. And that might be a nice metaphor for the season. Depending on which system you use, it's either winter now or the end of autumn. Click to enlarge.

 
As meteorologists reckon, winter begins on December 1st and extends through January and February, the three coldest months of the year in the northern hemisphere. The system is based on the calendar and the temperature and begins on the same day every year. That's important for comparing weather data.

Astronomical winter, on the other hand, is based on the Earth's rotation and the tilt of its axis. Astronomical winter arrives with the shortest day of the year around December 22, but possibly a day or so sooner or later. This year, it will be on the 21st.

December 1st or three weeks later? We're between these winters right now. Regardless of which you prefer the sun is low in the sky these days, it's dark out early, and it's cold out there.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Swan Reflection

 

An immature mute swan, with a few gray cygnet feathers, leaves a spreading wake behind as it sails across the still pond. Click to enlarge. Its reflection reminds me of this from the poet Thomas Hood:   

"There's a double beauty whenever a swan

Swims on a lake with her double thereon."