The Dead of Almost Winter- The Silence of the Lambs, Deer, Squirrels and Birds

When entering Centennial Woods on a clear, 27 degree day in December, I expected the forests to be less active, yet nothing would prepare me for just how inactive it actually would be.  In previous trips, birds enveloped the canopy in harmony and melody alike, filling my ears with the cadences indicative of life.  Today though, I entered a forest I have been studying for 4 months only to find it to be something completely different from what I knew and loved.  During the 30 minute duration I spent in the woods, all I saw was human tracks (and corresponding dog tracks), half a dozen squirrel tracks and very few bird calls (1 chickadee tweet and 2 cardinal calls).  Compared to weeks ago when hordes of goldfinch, robin, wood pecker, junco, cardinal and others made their presence known, this was a polar opposite.  One cause could be the lack of food.  Barberry and wild rose hips are the only remaining fruit, as grape vines have been picked clean, along with all the seeds of wildflowers along the trail.  If there is no food, that is cause to not be in a certain area, as well as the cold being a cause to hunker down.  The floodplain has been altered once again in several ways.  The first being that the unseasonable amount of snow has pressed the vegetation down into mats close to the ground.  With the snow came lots of water, and such was seen throughout the woods.  The ground along the trail and in the floodplain was extremely saturated, turning the once dry land into marsh.  In hindsight from the beginning of the year, huge changes have occurred in every aspect (hydro-logically, flora and fauna, etc.).

Grapes picked clean from the vine

squirrel track

Extremely rare photo of a domestic dog track; only three photos of this kind have been taken in history. Truly a triumphant time for all of mankind.

Saturated ground throughout the woods

Downstream

Across stream

Upstream

Barberry Berries

Ghostly beech still retaining dead leaves

 

Comments are closed.