If you're from the Central/Northern New York area you're probably wondering what happened to winter? Well, it's not over yet, and around here you never know what to expect.
We started off in October with a bang of a snowstorm, that melted. Got some more snow in November and that never made it to Christmas, and then another little snow about two weeks ago. And now that's all gone, too. As a matter of fact we just have a couple of little snow piles around here and there. Most of the snow is gone from the fields.
|Our neighbors' (Sam & Nancy Weber) farm from their back field.|
Of course I'm not complaining, but I feel sorry for those that love their winter sports of downhill & cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and photographing beautiful winter scenes. The snowmobile trails around our house were opened for a few days and then they had to close them for lack of snow. The ski slopes can not make snow when the temperatures are above freezing so there is not much of a base and they are lucky if even half of their trails are open.
It certainly must be an easy winter for the deer to get around. When we did have snow on the ground, my husband noticed several areas in our back yard where the deer had bedded down.
We've noticed several hawks, osprey and eagles in the area. As long as they can get food they will stay in the area. Same for some of the other smaller bird species. We've had Goldfinches that were around most of the winter.
|Goldfinch (Male) in their winter plumage. They are much duller than they are in the spring/summer.|
A frequent visitor for us this year has been the Tufted Titmouse. This was a surprise to me because we have seen them on occasion in the past, but they never stuck around. They would peck at some food at the feeder and you would never see them again, but this winter they've been around since fall.
We've also had some Purple Finches and House Finches visit the feeders. Last year we had the Red Polls visit, but they didn't stick around and I haven't seen any this year yet.
|Purple Finch - Male|
|Top to bottom: Tree Sparrow, Chickadee, Purple Finch (female on left, male on right)|
The woodpeckers have been feasting on the suet. We have the Hairy, Downy, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. We can hear the Pileated Woodpecker in the back woods, but he hasn't made an appearance yet. I have not known them to visit suet feeders too often so I don't expect to see them at the feeders, but they do like dead trees and we have a few of those in our yard for them to build nests in.
|Red-bellied Woodpecker - Female|
|Purple Primroses blooming in February 2016.|
Are we going to have an early spring? I'm thinking that we probably will. A friend of mine that lives closer to Syracuse has already had Robins and Redwing Blackbirds in her backyard. If you have any birdhouses around your place now is a good time to clean them out. Some of the male birds that migrate usually return first before the females and look for suitable nest building sites.
If you like to try your hand at starting your own seedlings now is the time to order or purchase your seeds. I usually don't plant many seedlings. I really don't have the room for them. It's much easier for me to purchase the plants from the nurseries in the spring. I have started perennial and annual seeds right in the ground in the spring after the ground warms up and the danger of a frost has passed. Don't start them too early or a late frost will kill them after they start to sprout. Some annual seeds take a long time to germinate so those wouldn't be feasible to start outdoors in this area. Check the package for the length of germination and the also how long before the first blooms appear.
Now that the days are getting longer, and there's not much snow around, I'm getting excited about spring. It won't be long now. Time to get all those indoor projects done that you haven't gotten around to yet. Once that nice weather comes you won't want to be inside!
"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again."
~ Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
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