Winter had still not arrived on the day I took this walk at Council Point Park. But you could have fooled me – it was gray, gloomy and very cold. This was Saturday, December 19th and I’d not been to the Park in two days. While walking home Wednesday morning, the snow flurries were flying furiously, then by afternoon, the landscape was white. We didn’t get much snow, but layered in, once again, was a little freezing rain, which slickened up driveways and sidewalks. A little overnight snow Thursday night provided an additional frosty layer. This time, however, fewer homeowners shoveled or swept, which necessitated walking in the salted street if I hoped to make it down to the Park without wiping out along the way.
When I arrived at Council Point Park, the parking lot was a mishmash of small piles of salt and hunks of snow and ice in other spots where the salt spreader had totally missed, so I opted to walk on the grass to get to the start of the perimeter path, that “fork” that I showed you recently in the four-seasons photo.
I didn’t fare much better on the pathway, as it had not been plowed and ice and crusty crud crunched under my feet as I set out. The winds had picked up a bit and buffeted me as I picked my way along the path. Very quickly I decided to walk on the grass and hurried to the Safe Haven Tree, where a few furry friends scampered over and a Jay heralded my arrival with a few screeches to put out the call to his brethren. I had brought sunflower seeds as a treat since I know they’d missed two days’ “droppings” and I sprinkled them liberally over the memorial stone and spread peanuts too.
Puff descended the Safe Haven Tree lickety-split and bolted over to the sunflower seeds, completely bypassing the peanuts.
I wanted to feel his forehead, while thinking “why didn’t I get more sunflower seeds to leave for those bad-weather days when the predicted forecast tells me I will not be showing my face at the Park?”
I was right up close to Puff when I snapped these photos of him sporting a smidgeon of snow. “He must be freezing” I thought as he bounced around, despite his added girth. The dull daylight, made his usually glossy black fur, look like it was tinged with brown.
A few more squirrels and another Jay had joined the feeding frenzy so I moved on. I eyeballed the pathway ahead and sure didn’t like the look of the lumpy-looking, snow-and-ice-covered surface and decided that I wasn’t going to walk it, despite wearing lug-soled hiking boots. I quickly cut across the loop, by walking on the snow-covered grass. I’m still counting my steps, but since I’ve passed my goal already I decided now was the time to cut corners.
I headed over to the woodsy area which I have designated as a second “safe haven area” and was pleased to see a few furry and feathered friends come to greet me. I’ve been feeding the squirrels and Jays, even a few Cardinals, at this location for about a month now. I knew that collection of logs and the tree stump left behind by the tree cutters back in early Fall could serve some purpose, so I’ve been placing peanuts and treats there. This woodsy little nook is not large, but the logs provide a refuge from flying predators and the Creek bank is behind the log, so no hawk is going to risk swooping through the branches and harming itself. No worries guys … I’ve got your backs!
So, I left peanuts there and some sunflower seeds that quickly disappeared into the snow – oops, I should have cleared the “table” off first, but they had a surprise when the snow melted!
Fluff, my cute gray squirrel peanut pal, scoped the goodies and me out from his perch, the snow serving as a nice backdrop for this shot.
A Fox squirrel grabbed a few peanuts and posed nicely.
Soon a friend joined him and they sat in the still morn, noshing nuts contentedly.
I stayed a few minutes to ensure everyone was tucked into this little niche and no predators were flying about. I didn’t see any other squirrels, geese or ducks, so I just returned the same way to leave for home. It was a short visit, but it served a purpose of getting some fresh air, racking up about three miles and feeding my furry and feathered friends.
This Hunny-Bunny made me shiver!
I left the camera out as I wanted to take a photo on my way home of this Cottontail Rabbit nestled in the snow. It was there earlier and hadn’t moved at all.
I took this picture …
… and, when it didn’t flinch, I stepped a little closer, snapped the photo, then returned to the sidewalk before I scared it (or got my hand slapped for trespassing).
I first saw this bunny a few weeks ago. It’s brownish fur blended into this homeowners’ lawn. I did a double-take when I saw it, hunched down into the grass, its ears slicked back. Immediately I was concerned it was sick, but I didn’t want to approach it closer to startle it, so I continued on my journey. Belatedly, I remembered my neighbor was mowing the lawn many years ago and found a bunny nest right out in the open. The mother had abandoned her kittens (the term for baby rabbits) and Marge went to the pet shop to ask how to take care of the babies. She came home with nourishment and tiny bottles to feed them. Unfortunately they were so small, they did not survive.
Since that time, I’ve read you should ensure to check your lawn carefully before mowing for any rabbit nests. I’m not sure if this is just a resting spot for this bunny as it does not appear they breed and have kittens this late in the year. I know she’s got that soft fur, but surely it is not enough to keep her warm on these bitter cold days and nights while resting in the snow.
Of course I feel badly for all the critters as Winter marches on. All I can do is hope they have a safe place to curl up for the evening and food to sustain them until Spring, then beyond.