Some of us like to explore new geographies when we go on vacation. The wonderful thing about a cold winter on Lake Ontario is that the shoreline takes a new shape every day, and each day’s excursion becomes an exploration.
Just three days ago a fierce wind was pushing huge waves our way.
But after a day of new snow and gentle breezes, slush and ice chunks drifted into the bay and then froze into place.
These expanses of ice may look dense but that is often deceptive. Imagine quicksand, with some hard chunks of ice thrown into the mix. A good way to learn about this is to step through the snow and ice in a spot where the water below is waist-deep or so – deep enough to fill your boots with icy water – and do it in a place where you can walk home before your feet freeze. (A bad way to learn is … well, let’s not go there.)
By Friday morning, after a night with windchill of –35°C, the new coastline was deeply carved with new fjords.
I love these mini-vacations just a short walk from home, but for our newest neighbour this truly is foreign territory. Will our Snowy Owl find enough to eat to stay warm in these new environs?
Lemmings are scarce in these parts but there are lots of rabbits and smaller birds. During Wednesday afternoon’s snowfall I was pleased to see the owl sitting in the middle of the frozen marsh, working on a meal. When she had moved on I found a few bits of red meat left on the snow, along with what appeared to be a duck’s foot. The next morning three crows were polishing off the remains.
For all my efforts so far I have failed to snap a clear picture of the Snowy Owl in flight. Yesterday just before sunset, however, as the owl waited far out on the breakwater, a beautiful treasure came drifting by along the snow, pausing here and there before a gentle puff of wind carried it away.
Top photo: Points of Light (click here for larger view)