Icy Fire in the Trees

Icy Trees

Following my earlier post and later in the morning, the sun broke through the clouds for a few moments.  I just happened to turn around and saw this scene developing before my eyes.  I love the way icy trees look in the morning light – takes some of the sting out of shoveling for several hours to clear my driveway.

After shoveling for a bit, we took a break and enjoyed blueberries for a snack.  I love all types of fruit but blueberries rank very, very high on my “favorites” list.  These were exceptionally juicy and sweet – a great mid-winter treat!

Another Storm

Sunlight reflecting through ice

Another Nor’easter has passed over New Jersey, leaving us buried in a foot or more of new snow.  This one was warmer than our earlier storms and delivered considerable amounts of freezing rain and sleet before turning to snow.  This was the view from my deck as the early morning sunlight illuminated ice-covered trees.

Winter Hiking

WhitesbogWe had a really cold weekend in New Jersey with single digit night-time temps and daytime temperatures hovering around 20 degrees F (-5 degrees C) and windy conditions that made it feel much, much colder.

Perfect for a winter hike!  Well, not really.  But I was feeling the need to be outdoors Sunday, so I headed to a favorite spot, Whitesbog, for a walk.

Whitesbog is a historic cranberry farm that is owned by the state but leased to a cranberry farmer.  Some areas are actively farmed, while others are slowly reverting back to their natural state and make great birding locations.   Unfortuntely, it was so cold and windy yesterday that very few birds were venturing out. 

WhitesbogMost of the bogs, which are flooded for the winter to protect the cranberry plants, are completely frozen over.  Sandy dirt roads course between the frozen bogs, great for hiking but leaving you completely exposed to the wind. There were very few areas with open water, essential for over-wintering ducks and swans. 

Ice covered leaves

The cold temperatures caused ice crystals to form on the leaves of this small shrub, which was growing near one of the few areas that had flowing water. 

Ice covered leaves

White-throated Sparrow

A few white-throated sparrows braved the temps to forage for seeds.  These little fellows over-winter in New Jersey and sing a sweet whistled song about their summer home – “Oh sweet Canada Canada Canada”.