An Early Winter

Snow on a Sunflower, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

Snow on a Sunflower, November 16, 2014.

It was dark and cold when I started the run this morning. Winter has arrived early. It snowed yesterday and last night. The temperature at 6 am this morning was 22 degrees with a wind from the WNW of 13 mph. It was January weather in the middle of November.

When I returned from the run, the boots and the camera replaced the running shoes and the water bottle. I went to visit the park next door. I hadn’t been there since the beginning of August when I went to watch the Barn Swallows and look at the flowers.

I think there is a Muskrat push-up on the edge of the pond. It isn’t a natural collection of branches. It wasn’t there in August. Small footprints made a path in the snow across the pond. They circled in front of the Muskrat push-up and then continued on further down the bank. They could have been made by a fox or a cat.

Update 11/20/2014

Yesterday morning, I returned to the structure of cattails, branches and mud by the pond. I saw two similar structures in the marshy area connected to the pond. I read about North American Beavers and Muskrats later in the day. I think the structures are Muskrat push-ups rather than Beaver lodges. I have only a couple of photos and one short video of the animal I saw swimming in the pond in May. The tail is partly visible in the photo and in the video. I think the animal is a Muskrat rather than a Beaver from the way it was moving its tail while swimming, it’s size, and the habitat. I am going to take more photos of the structures this weekend and visit them throughout the winter. I hope to see the animal or its tracks in the snow.

A Muskrat push-up next to the pond, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

A Muskrat push-up next to the pond, November 16, 2014.

A Beaver lodge next to the pond, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter." A line of small footprints crossed the pond in front of the Beaver lodge.

A Muskrat push-up next to the pond, November 16, 2014. A line of small footprints crossed the pond in front of the Muskrat push-up.

A Beaver lodge next to the pond, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

A Muskrat push-up next to the pond and small footprints in the snow on the pond, November 16, 2014.

A Beaver lodge next to the pond, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter." There were small footprints and two breaks in the ice in front of the Beaver lodge.

A Muskrat push-up next to the pond and small footprints in the snow on the pond, November 16, 2014. There were two breaks in the ice in front of the Muskrat push-up.

A break in the ice on the pond and small footprints in the snow, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

A break in the ice and small footprints in the snow on the pond, November 16, 2014.

Snow on dried Queen Anne's Lace flowers, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

Snow on dried Queen Anne’s Lace flowers, November 16, 2014.

Snow on a Sunflower, November 16, 2014, "An Early Winter."

Snow on a Sunflower, November 16, 2014.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Sarah

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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7 Responses to An Early Winter

  1. Shady_Grady says:

    The snow of the sunflower picture is both sad and majestic all at the same time. Good taste.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      I thought the sunflower was looking more than a little cold and forlorn. It seemed a fitting tribute to a day of unexpected cold and snow. I am happy you liked it. 🙂 We had a spell of warmer weather before this early winter cold snap and some of the flowers decided to give it one more try.
      I am very curious about the Beaver lodge. All these things happen when I am not watching! There is a line of trees between here and the park. The pond is in a little depression in the land. I can’t see the Beaver lodge until I walk up close to the pond. I think this gives enough warning to the Beavers to hide themselves, but I am still hopeful that one day I will see one outside of the lodge. I am curious who made the footprints in the snow. I have seen both a fox and a cat in the area. Those sightings were when I was running, though, and didn’t have the camera.

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    You didn’t by chance see the animal swimming in sync to Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” did you? Because that would be a dead giveaway. =)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      You are being funny! 🙂 I did think of that song when I was reading about Muskrats yesterday. Before yesterday, I didn’t know what a Muskrat looked like or their habitat or their behavior. I did a Goggle search for mammals in Iowa and they were listed. Their tail is about the same length as their body and they use the tail for swimming. It also makes their tracks distinctive. If you look at the photo and the video, you will see that the tail looks like it is as long as the body. The tail was waving back and forth through the water as it swam. It would be much easier to tell if I could see the animal outside of the water or see its tracks in the snow or mud.

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