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!