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February 9, 2012 - 9:45am

A not so bleak midwinter

posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, winter weather.

Somewhat silhouetted by the sun, these phragmite plumes stand out nicely against the blue winter sky, creating a scene hardly resembling early February. 

To my memory, I don't recall seeing as much waterfowl activity in our area as evidenced this winter. With no snow cover, waterfowl have been able to glean the grain fields, and local waters have iced over only occassionally but never for very long.

This scene is more reminiscent of April -- and trout season.

This snowfall was picturesque and like the others it didn't last long.

Here dining on sumac, wintering songbirds haven't had trouble finding food this season. While sumac is a normal part of their winter diet....... 

it seems they don't care much for sumac sno-cones.

By Sunday morning these waterfowl could find themselves evicted. Predicted low temps for Friday and Saturday show single digits and this mantle of ice could envelop the entire marsh.

It's been a nice run but we're certainly not out of the woods yet. Over the course of the next few weeks will we see more blue sky with just an occasional bite from Old Man Winter......

or will we one morning wake up to a setting such as this?

Howard B. Owens
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Very nice pictures, JIm.

John Woodworth JR
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I agree very nice pictures Jim. I especially like the plumes silhouetted by the sun and the songbird dining on the sumac.

Amy Tannehill-Joyner
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Our bird feeders have NOT been very busy this winter, only, it seems when we have had snow fall. Then it's like fast food, easy and cheap! (or is that cheep??) This mild winter has been good for the deer, the waterfowl and the birds, but the snowmobilers, I would guess, are more than a bit frustrated. These are great pictures, Jim.. thank you!

Billie Owens
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I wonder about this mild winter, which scientists say is the result of something I've never heard of before -- arctic oscillation, and how this affects migratory birds like Canada geese. Just a few days ago I saw about 40 of them on the banks of the Tonawanda behind Lambert's Design Jewelers. Were they still going to head south or are they in limbo waiting for spring or a cold snap? Does this weather confuse the poor things?

Jami Bartz
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Gorgeous pictures Dad! As much as I think the snow is beautiful, I haven't minded the mild winter. Love you!

JIM NIGRO
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Thank you all for your comments!

JIM NIGRO
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Billie,
ducks and geese congregate in the area you mentioned - especially west of River St. There the water is shallow, allowing for easy foraging, and even in midwinter there are stretches of stream that remain ice free. Arctic oscillation is not a term I'm familiar with, but I've noticed other areas of the nation have had severe weather while locally its been relatively mild.

Since late autumn I've seen mega flocks of geese foraging in the harvested grain fields of northern Genesee and Orleans counties. I've often felt that creatures of the wild act as a natural barometer for various conditions, such as weather. Every year we look forward to seeing the robins and the sound of migrating geese. This winter it seems like the geese, a good number of them anyway, never left.

Do I think they're confused? Not at all. Mother Nature doesn't always follow the rules!

Mardell Lamb
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Great pics Jim. As always, a wealth of information! I've noticed for several years now that the "honkers" have stayed throughout the year. See them everywhere ~ and I mean EVERYWHERE. Such a change from when I was growing up in the 60's-70's.

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