As usual, things have changed at the lake. The ideal conditions for ice skating have passed, but it was one of the best years for ice games in 10 years. Snow has covered the ice, so it is time to hang up the skates and break out cross country skis, snow shoes and snow mobiles. There is some slush under it so it is not “wonderful snow” but the crusty stuff keeps skiers above it for the most part.
About an inch or so of snow fell on the ice on the 3rd making skating more difficult. These tracks are evidence of skaters who used ski poles to help them make their way across the lake. When there is a will, there is a way!
There were more “classic” cross country ski tracks with a dog following along. Animal tracks were also seen traveling across the snow and then following snowmobile tracks for a few hundred yards.
These tracks were made by a flock of probably about 20 turkeys. They likely explored the ice for food and when they were unsuccessful, they retreated back inland.
Some rather beautiful curves were made by an ice boat. They were moving through about an inch of soft snow so they were still able to fly across the ice.
On another note, there is life and death on the lake. These are the remains of a deer that must have slipped on the ice and couldn’t get up. Sadly, this is not an uncommon situation. The hooves of deer do not grip on the ice leading to falls and the inability to get back up. When they parish on the ice, they provide food for others. This deer has been put to good use, all that remains is its fur.
There were eagle tracks around the carcass, evidence that it took advantage of the situation. Nothing seemed to go to waste. Although it is sad for the deer, it is evidence of a functioning food web in the winter at the lake.
The islands are frozen in and the rock barriers that have been built show the lower winter water level. This is the looking to the NE from Poplar Island.
Now, the lake had gotten another 2 or 3 inches of heavy wet snow. It is sort of like cement and with the temperatures dropping will become rather hard, firm snow to ski on. There is a slush layer under it but with the cold, that may even freeze.
Going inland, you find that the pine trees have dropped clumps of snow off their branches and as they hit the wet, sloppy snow, they made craters. The largest crater in the picture below, is probably about 10 inches in diameter. These will now be frozen, and with no snow on the horizon, they will be visible for days.
Everyday is different out on the lake. Looking forward to seeing what changes next.