Thursday, February 19, 2015

Things to Look for at the End of Winter

We skipped town for over 6 weeks this winter. Little did we know the worst of the cold was yet to come. Here are some things to look for out there in the winter wonderland, and some to give you hope for spring to will be here before we know it!

>> What have you been noticing in nature this winter? Leave a comment below.

Vulpes vulpes from Wikimedia Commons
When we got back to town, our neighbor let us know he's seen foxes coming and going from under our shed. He thinks we may have a den. The snow has revealed many noturnal comings-and-goings, and our neighbor seems to be right. Do we dare to hope for pups this spring? For now, see our guide to some common footprints in the snow.

Ice at Scott's Run by the Natural Capital
Even when it doesn't snow, looking for beautiful ice formations can be enough to entice me out into the cold for a good walk...usually. This might be a good time to check out your favorite body of water.

In the Swamp
Skunk cabbage by Rupert G.
Skunk cabbage is one of the select group of plants in the world that attracts pollinators by imitating rotting flesh. And, it's just about the only native flower you're going to find blooming at this time of year. It's prehistoric-looking and stinky, but it's a flower. In January and February. It's said that they generate their own heat and can even melt snow, but I've never seen might be the time to check.

maple sap bucket
Photo credit: Lolly Knit
Before this recent cold snap, Matt collected several gallons of maple sap from a few nearby trees. When it warms up this weekend the sap should start flowing again.

For those of us (myself included) who tend to feel a little house-bound as it gets colder and colder outside, we wrote a Southerner's Guide to Staying Warm Outside in the Winter.

We also put together a list of Nature Centers in the DC area, in case you need a nature fix when you really can't stand to be outdoors for too long.

Stay warm!