Pond at -20
It was a cold day, especially compared to the previous few days. But it was sunny and that made up for a lot. The pond is now frozen over again, the surface covered with ice crystals, except for a large open section under the downed maple. It gives me hope that the beaver may still be there and surviving.
Here is a closer view of the open section beneath the downed maple.
Although not a lot of snow fell yesterday, there was enough to beautifully show up the animal tracks. Here, a rabbit hopped along the trail from the centre then took a detour over to nibble on some branches of a fallen poplar. I think, but don't know for sure, that a rabbit is using the brushpile behind the centre. One morning early I saw one sitting by the red cedar nibbling branches, and there are piles of rabbit scat all over that area.
A set of fox tracks crossed the trail, right over the rabbit tracks. Later, I found several more sets of fox tracks.
American crow tracks
Out in the open area, I found a number of crow tracks and quite a few mice tracks as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the crows were hunting mice and voles.
Grey squirrel with manitoba seeds
As I've mentioned before, the Manitoba maple seeds are diminishing rapidly. Here, one lucky grey has found a supply and he was making the most of them.
Cardinal in spruce tree
A great splash of colour on this bright day, was a fine male cardinal perched high up in a spruce on the edge of the Ash woods.
Red squirrel looking pensive
This is yet another red squirrel photo, but they are such a feature of the garden! Even if you don't see them, you hear them. And if you don't hear them, you can see signs of their presence everywhere: nests, chewed branches, sumac cones, walnuts stuffed into crevices and on branches, snow tunnels... Really, they should be our mascot!
There was a nice cluster of orange jelly on an old spruce stump. You can still find quite a few fungi, particularly these jellies and the polypores, even in winter.
Monday's heavy rain and warm weather (+6) has seen a dramatic opening of the pond. However, it is not open to the bottom, but on top of a skin of ice, and under that skin, the water is moving fast and spilling down the ravine under the bridge, into the Arboretum where the mallards and black ducks are taking advantage of more and deeper water in the stream. You can see how the beaver dam is now exposed again. Further back towards the west end of the pond, it is still frozen, but I wouldn't trust it to hold!
Crabapple in rain
On this rainy, mild, day, the crabapples looked particularly photogenic! With the rain they looked glazed and shiny and just delectable.
An unusually mild (+6) and rainy (41mm) day for Ottawa in January! Mist covered the landscape and made everything seem mysterious and different. Walking was not much fun as the trails in places were deep in water. The usual birds were around, house finches in good numbers again (30+), cardinals, chickadees, a couple of juncos, and so on. The pond was almost open, and the hole underneath the downed Manitoba maple was open beneath the layer of slushy water.