BLOG 003 Winter? : Natural Selections--Observations on Art and Nature
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Images of all paintings copyrighted by Minnesota artist Jim Rataczak © 2012

BLOG 003 Winter?

by Jim Rataczak on 03/01/12

I like winter.  In Minnesota, we consider late November to late March to be "winter", a time to ski, skate, and even walk on frozen water in search of fish. But the 2011-2012 installment of this season has been a big ol' swing and a miss.  Reportedly, it's the second warmest on record since the very first year figures were kept way back in 1878.  The lake I grew up on didn't even freeze over completely until well into January, and my beloved cross-country skis continue to gather dust in the corner of my room. Sigh...

Nonetheless, a few silver linings can be found in this winter that isn't (so far).  For one, it's been way easier on pheasants and other such critters than were the frigid temps and deep snow that Old Man Winter dished out early and often last year. 

For me, a special treat was that the abovementioned open water on our lake attracted a bevy of Trumpeter Swans that added an angelic beauty to our Christmas.  Typically, the only open water available for these huge birds to winter on is a stretch of the Mississippi River.  But this year they've had many other options, and have given my sketchbook and I a terrific gift.  Just last week, in fact, I tunneled through about 20 yards of cattails on the edge of the nearby marsh, and watched over a dozen of these stately birds feed and loaf among a flock of Mallards.  Beautiful!


Comments (2)

1. Jennifer White said on 4/3/12 - 09:48AM
Hi Jim! I was chatting with a birder friend of mine today about our life list of birds that we currently have and of those we hope to see. I thought of you and how much I enjoy your field sketch work. Glad to have found this blog and will check in with you here!
2. Jim said on 4/4/12 - 10:11AM
Hi Jennifer--Glad you found the site, and especially glad you're still getting out after those birds! Such a great time of year, especially with the nice weather. Any particularly interesting sightings this spring?

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