February 2010 is now officially the snowiest February on record in my area. With 42 “official” inches in the bucket for the month, snowfall for the winter is already well above average. Some of last week’s snow has melted, but when I stepped off a road and into the snow this weekend, it still reached my knees.
The snowcover and colder than average temperatures are affecting the return of migrating waterfowl, too. The last week of February is usually prime time to see tens of thousands of snow geese, Tundra swans and Canada geese, among others, at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County. This year, not yet. Ice still covers all ponds and lakes.
I made a short trip to Pinchot State Park this weekend and found minimal open water, inhabited by exactly 6 mallards and 4 ring-billed gulls standing on the ice. Four common mergansers flew over and circled but decided they weren’t going to try a landing in the circus rink-sized puddle of open water on the lake.
Next weekend should see an improvement in the numbers of waterfowl and the amount of open water, as the temperature will at least touch the 40-degree mark during most days this week I hope so, as I am longing for something a little different to look at or do in the woods around the cabin.
My photos today are of an old cemetery near the lake. The veterans buried here are from the Revolution or the War of 1812. The red headstones are typical of that time period, though the dates are getting ever harder to read. No was buried here after 1850, as I recall, though snow still kept me from going inside the stone walls to check for sure.