Friday, February 08, 2013
Snow over forest
The big nor’easter that will pound New England later today is apparently not going to make an appearance over my cabin. Still, the local animals seem to think something is up and are acting accordingly.
Last evening nearly 20 deer were feeding in the grassy field across from Roundtop’s north parking lot. This morning, Baby Dog and I scattered deer throughout our walk. One raced from the open water of the snowmaking pond up the slope of Drummer Boy, staying just ahead of the approaching snow groomer, which is a large tracked vehicle not unlike a bulldozer on tank treads. Two more ran ahead of us a bit later in the walk, clattering first up the paved road, then through the stone parking lot, pausing only to stare or glare at us once they reached the edge of the forest.
We see deer on our morning walks fairly regularly, but to see so many and to have them so near is not typical. The deer gave every sign they were filling up their bellies while they could. Anyone who feeds birds and sees them in a “feeding frenzy” before and during a storm will understand. Deer do the same thing.
What I find interesting about the animals’ activity is that they are acting this way even though this storm will largely miss my area. The forecasters are saying this area is in a “dry slot” between the two storm systems. Apparently tonight I might see an inch or so on the back side of the big storm, but nothing more. So, what’s going on here? Are the forecasts wrong about the storm missing the area? Are the deer (and presumably the birds, too) wrong to jump into feeding frenzy mode?
It’s a bit too soon to know, at this hour, if either the forecast or the heavily feeding forest fauna is off the mark. I suspect the animals can sense the storm as it is brushing the southern edge of my county at the moment. They don’t have built in radar, so they probably can’t tell that the storm will likely sweep by without causing much difficulty here. They can feel its approach, sense its nearness and are acting accordingly. Or perhaps they know something the forecasters can’t predict. Perhaps I should be more worried than I am.