Posts tagged ‘Snow’

January 11, 2014

Stories in the Snow

Animals venturing out in the snow leave a story behind. These stories, often otherwise invisible, shed light on animal behavior and provide visual clues into how critters make use of their habitat.

Snow Tracks

Snow Tracks 06The photo above, taken Tuesday, shows the imprint made by the feet and the tail feathers of a crow during landing. The crow walked up to a tree, turned left to walk down some steps, and then took flight again.

In the photo at left, we see a mouse hopped out a short distance from the rock and then returned to protective cover. At some point, a cross-country venture started here, too. But although this mouse only made one trip in this direction, a wider view shows a well-established “runway” between the rock and the tall grass in the other direction.

Both of these events are commonplace in the park, but the snow “captured” these two stories in a way that revealed something more than I could see with my eyes alone. In the first case, because I wasn’t there to witness the event, the crow’s landing and short stroll would have escaped my notice had it not been frozen in the snow until I happened along. And in the second case, even had I observed a mouse near the rock on several occasions, I probably wouldn’t have realized that a single runway existed between it and the grass had the snow not shown the cumulative track lines.

Next time snow carpets the ground, why not head outside and see what stories you can find “printed” in the snow?

January 5, 2014

More Snow And Cold Weather For Osage Hills State Park

CCC-built Pump House

Snow fell again in the Osage Hills. The flurries started Saturday night and continued through the morning with temperatures stalling at 15°F. The dry snow never seemed to stay put – the wind busily rearranged it all day – which made taking measurements a challenge. I found it from 3.25 inches deep near Group Camp to 6.5 inches deep on rocks in a ravine. Officially, the National Weather Service reported 4.7 inches.

Low temperatures for Monday will range from 5 to 10 degrees above zero, with highs in the lower twenties. Wind chill values from -5 to -26 degrees are expected.

Tractor Clearing Snow From Roadway Over CCC Culvert

Tractor Clearing Snow From Roadway Over CCC-built Culvert

December 26, 2013

Winter’s Arrival Confirmed By A Look Outside

Bobcat Hollow Bridge

Last weekend the calendar told us what we already knew: Winter has arrived!  A thick coat of ice cloaked everything in Osage Hills State Park after a bout of cold wet weather moved in on Friday.  Roads were clear and dry by Monday morning, but by sundown a half-inch of snow made roads treacherous again.

The sun finally broke through on Christmas Day and returned the white-washed landscape to tones of brown. (And de-iced my satellite dish so I could submit this post!)

December 11, 2013

For A Short Time Only: Winter Wonderland at Osage Hills

Fresh Snow on the Falls Trail

Three inches of snow didn’t last long once the sun came up in blue skies, but until the snow burned off, Osage Hills was a true winter wonderland.  The Swans stayed with us throughout the day, as did about 50 Canada Geese and a flock of several hundred cedar waxwings.  The waxwings have been guests at the park for about two weeks now.  You’ll find them throughout the park robbing the redcedars of their heavy load of juniper berries.

By day’s end, the roads were all clear and much of the snow had melted.

Canada Geese on Lake Lookout

December 10, 2013

Winter White: Snowfall and Swans at Osage Hills State Park

A deer passes Cabin Zero in the falling snow.

A second round of snow fell at Osage Hills State Park yesterday.  Three inches had fallen by the time it stopped late last night.  Adding to the white were five trumpeter swans that alighted on Lookout Lake yesterday shortly after noon.  Hopefully the swans will remain longer than the snow.

A deer in the snow pauses to watch me pass.