Gliding through the harbour one morning just before freeze-up I spotted a mink.
Though I’ve looked many times since, it proved an elusive sight. No more mink so far, but instead …
On the beach a crayfish rested its final rest, still but still intact, having escaped the mink and the pike and the herons.
At the edge of the woods just after sunrise, maple keys grabbed the light.
What work of abstract expressionist art did the sunshine reveal? Is it an alien crop circle, seen from a spaceship?
No, just the hard work of beavers who have been chewing through twigs and trees.
As mornings got colder the starlings sought warmth – even if that warmth had to be created by fluffing their feathers and being as round as possible.
The miraculous chickadees survive the coldest mornings in spite of their tiny size. But they certainly appreciate a bowl of unfrozen water to drink from.
The big lake remains open though wind and waves scatter icy spray across the shoreline.
When the harbour channel remains thawed it’s a great place to watch waterfowl in the warmth of afternoon.
But when both winds and temperature drop, the channel and the marsh begin to freeze.
Gulls gather one day at the lakeshore, another day in the centre of the marsh. For a few days, at least, the Ring-billed Gulls were joined by a less common visitor – a Great Black-backed Gull who stood still and did its best to act inconspicuous.
And then one morning dawns very cold and even the harbour channel is mostly solid. Canada Geese huddle on the ice in small groups awaiting the sunrise.
Will the cold last? Not likely, but we do our best to enjoy while we can. And if some day very soon the sun shines on an open harbour again, I’ll be looking for that mink.
Photo at top of page: Beautiful Niche (1) – click here for full-screen view