Journal for February 25, 2008

I got a new camera this week – the new version of my old camera – a Lumix DMC-FZ50.   I like it a lot. I can get clearer, more detailed photos, and I think I’ll be able to get better pictures of butterflies without having to be as close to them.

So I’ve been taking lots of photos to test it out.

Black-capped Chickadee

White-tailed Deer

Downy Woodpecker

Red Squirrel

When I’m taking walks these days I look for things I can’t usually see in the summer.


Shadows and mouse footprints on the snow

There are always signs that birds and animals have been working. Here’s a hole in an aspen that looks like it will make a good nest for someone.

I also think about projects I’d like to do once the snow goes away. One project I’ve been thinking about is trying to improve habitat for Red-headed Woodpeckers. I’ve seen Red-headed Woodpeckers nearby, but never on our property.

The Red-headed Woodpecker population is declining over the eastern US, mostly because of the loss of nesting sites. The woodpeckers nest in dead trees, and they like park-like areas, with scattered trees and low ground cover. That fits in very well with our goal of restoring savanna.

Savanna restoration on Indian Grass Point

I’ve been noticing large dead trees as I walk around, and making plans to clear the brush around and under them.

Dead trees on Indian Grass Point

On warm days the snow melts on the south facing slopes.
Hidden Oaks Point

Indian Grass Point

The snow melts first along the grass stalks – it makes interesting patterns in the ice.

Lichens soak up the melt water and become soft and their colors brighten.

Mike had to work on our driveway this week – we’ve gotten so much snow that the driving area was getting very narrow and the sides were so tall that there was nowhere to push the snow. So he spent one whole day widening it – now we have a beautifully flat, wide place to walk.

Here are a few more pictures from the walks.

Eastern Red Cedar on Big View Point

Praag Valley from Big View Prairie – when the weather is warm, and the snow is melting, the air gets full of moisture.

Creek with frost