January 13, 2012

Exploring Winter's Changing Moods

January fog with first snow since October.
Our homeschool adventurers got to see and feel the many moods of winter today.  Arriving in the stillness of a foggy morning, we made introductions and headed out into a white on white land and marshscape.  We spied coots bobbing and diving in newly opened pools in the ice.  As members of the rail family, they appear to walk more adeptly than they paddle or fly.  Along the way, we investigated lotus pods and scats and tracks that appeared to belong to some canine - likely a large fox or small coyote.




Walking along the river where the trees open up, a pair of mute swan came flying in low overhead with a loud whistling of wings to merge white feathers with white fog before landing in the water.  Just then the sun began to brighten and a breeze to gently blow.


Breeze clears the fog away
Within minutes the fog blew away and revealed blue sky and billowing clouds.  We anticipated the coming cold front, checked the wind direction - still southwesterly - and walked on to check the screech owl's roost.  It wasn't in the "doorway" this morning.  As we headed down the old RR bed trail, the winds picked up and began to shift westerly.  By the time we reached the parking lot, small branches were falling and gusts were strengthening.  Clouds thickened and as cool air met warm, a light rain filled the air.  Just after everyone but I had departed, the sun came out to brighten the showery sky and I looked around quickly for a rainbow and spotted a double arc dropping down into the eastern side of the marsh...a perfect finish to a beautiful morning.




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