Friday, December 06, 2013
This morning I watched a very wet red fox rummage through the tall-grass field atop Roundtop. I suspect it was looking for mice, though I didn’t see it find anything. Although foxes usually hunt at night, I often see them and other predators in the early mornings, especially on overcast or stormy mornings, as this one was. I’ve seen great horned owls well into the morning hours, plying their way through trees, scattering squirrels and small birds in their wake.
I typically notice these mostly night-time predators during post-dawn hours only on overcast mornings. I’d love to know how and why they view these overcast skies as good times to continue their hunts. Is it simply more comfortable physically for the night hunters to stay out when the mornings are dark? Does the poor weather that’s now going to continue for several more days make them sense they should hunt now before the poor weather gets even worse? Does a morning hunt mean their nighttime hunting was unsuccessful? I wish I knew.
What I do know is that the forecast for my mountain contains several dreaded words, especially dreaded when they are all listed together—snow, sleet and freezing rain. Those words mean the forecasters have no idea what kind of precipitation will fall or for how long. The mostly likely translation is “ice storm,” and we all know how much fun they are. So I will hunker down, resign myself to a weekend of accomplishing little or no outside work and hope the power remains on. Winter is coming, that’s for sure.