Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Frozen Riverbay Ramble

Another sub-zero night last night.  That should freeze up the river bays solid, I thought.  And so it did.  There's a section of the Hudson River at Moreau where the water flows back behind an island and in and around rocky coves and into a marsh, and it's here that I love to explore when the ice grows thick enough to walk on.  So that's where I went today.  I felt reassured that the ice would support my weight when I saw the trail of a fisherman's sled heading straight across the bay.  Now that I think of it, I never did see any sign of that fisherman, nor a trail indicating his safe return.  Gulp!  Hope he didn't fall through!   At any rate, I stayed away from the main flow of the river, as well as from areas where I knew little creeks entered the bays, places where the ice might be thin.

I especially love walking back into the marsh, where in summer the water's too shallow to paddle and the ground too mucky to walk on.  Today I could wander around to my heart's content.

There were lots of animal tracks, both on the ice and also in the woods, and I could make a good guess about who had been traveling through, even though blowing snow had filled in the footprints, obscuring any fine details.   Just from the length of the stride or the depth of the track I could tell that coyote and fox and fisher and deer had been out here before me, many of them coming down to drink from a section of creek that was still open water.

Some little critter actually went right in.  What else could it be but a mink?

Were a bunch of mice having a subnivean party, or are these the tracks of just one mouse going and coming from its cozy home under the snow?

However many mice made those tracks, they'd better watch out for this Red-tail Hawk, who flew up in a tree when I disturbed it at its squirrel dinner.

As the afternoon grew late, some slanting rays of the lowering sun struck the buds of a young American Beech and they shone with a coppery glow.

These Striped Maple trees didn't need any sunbeams to make them glow, since the brilliant red of their twigs and buds appeared almost incandescent.

There were several cattail stands in the marsh, and I couldn't resist squeezing one and watching the seeds come exploding out.  Some people might say that I'm way too easily amused, but it really is quite amazing.  Watch!


catharus said...

Yeh, it's great to get back into the frozen marsh, isn't it?! 'Go explore where you couldn't otherwise.

The Furry Gnome said...

Fun to get places in the winter where you can't go in summer - if only it wasn't quite so cold!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that happened when you squeeze a cattail! Thank you; that was lovely!