Mid Winter Warm-upsJanuary 12, 2013
By no means are we done with Winter. In fact it would be very harmful if we where done with snow and extended cold temperatures. Like I have mentioned in past posts, the Winter season is a valuable time of year here in Michigan. It allows for the replenishing of the underground water aquifers, with the eventual snow melts at the end of the season. The extended cold temperatures kill many insects and damaging diseases that would otherwise only grow stronger during the winter, rather the be controlled through an extended cold temperature season.
We have watched these last few winters as many diseases and insects have not had their normal die-backs during the winter months, due to the lack of snow and extended cold temperatures. These things can be devastating to so many different ecosystems in Michigan. This also helps the Invasive Species take an even stronger hold on our environments here.
Now the good stuff. 🙂 These occasional mid-winter quick warm-ups can be wonderful outdoor experiences. Many different critters will come out of either semi-hibernations or from me hold-up deep in a den or burrow, and do a bit of roaming for some fresh food.
Since the critters and birds are moving a bit slower then normal, there are some excellent opportunities to see all types of wildlife. Yes……it can be a bit “Gushy” along the Trails during these warm-ups, but it is more then worth a few mud covered tracks.
Speaking of tracks…..keep your eyes open while exploring during one of the mid-winter warm0ups, for various animal tracks. The fresh mud can reveal some beautiful tracks, just as well as a fresh snow fall. You will also find yourself unbothered by many other outdoorsman during one of these thaws. Most people will shy away from the “Gushies” and possible mud conditions of a mid-winter thaw. But for those of us that enjoy having the forests to ourselves, and just our wildlife buddies, these are excellent times to explore the Trails.
Do not be afraid to bring along that Garbage bag so that you can just plop yourself down someplace, on the wet ground and just sit for a bit. It is not easy to be quite in Gushy conditions, even if you are a stealthy critter or Bird. Sit yourself down on that dry Garbage bag spot and listen and watch. Once you have blended into your surroundings, you will be very happy with the results. Birds chirping directly overhead, critters scurrying almost everywhere, and wildlife spotting you never knew existed where you sat.
Sometimes the worst weather in our human minds, can be the very best weather to find critters and wildlife, even in the most overused places. Like I have mentioned many times before……be aware of what you see and where you see it during these times of year. These Birds and animals frequent many of the same places during all the seasons, or at least use the animal “Highways” to get around through all seasons. While the foliage is down and one can see for greater distances, it is great to ID particular critter and Birds you spot now, so that when the forests are thick with leaves and ground cover during the summer months, you will have a good idea of what is prowling around the thick cover.