The cold weather we’re currently having can help deer. Mild weather followed by a freeze can leave a crust on the snow thick enough to support deer, who take the opportunity to browse on previously unreachable vegetation. A thinner crust may make progress difficult for them but support the wolves at their heels.
Many lichens on south-facing trees and rocks stir to photosynthesize in the sun on mild winter days. If temperatures rise above freezing like they have in the past few days, fungi such as winter polypor and orange witches’s butter may swell up on tree bark.
Many of the tiny specks in this photo are actually snowfleas
A balmy break often occurring late in the month is known as the January thaw. On such mild, sunny, midwinter days, tiny snowfleas often cover the surface of the snow like soot. But if you look carefully, you’ll see them spring across the snow [...]
In January or February, when females are in estrus, beaver couples exit their lodgings — which may also be occupied by the previous year’s offspring — and swim attentively together. Without further preliminaries, the male clasps his partner, moves aside her paddled tail and slides around her so that they are both turned slightly sideways. [...]
Mars makes an appearance this winter in the eastern sky. Look for a bright reddish “star” in the east, about half-way up from the horizon to the zenith (top of the sky), about 10 or 11 p.m. For those with a knowledge of constellations (which you’d have after reading Up North!), the planet is between [...]
In the dead of winter, great horned owls begin hooting it up, with the year’s first avian mating calls of the north woods. Hairy woodpeckers soon join in, drumming the opening beats of another season’s symphony of bird song.
Make sure to look up when outside on a clear, cold January night. The brilliant Orion constellation, with the famous 3 “belt stars,” shines in the south sky in the evening. Below and left of Orion is the bright star Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. Also called the Dog Star, this star [...]
The Quadrantid meteor shower takes to the skies Jan. 4, but it’s a tough one for Ontario and North Woods stargazers. The weather outside is frightful for skygazing, of course, and the nature of the Quadrantids means peak times only last a few hours close to twilight. Best viewing is actually from western North America. [...]