Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trail of a muskrat

Days of blue skies are an invitation to walk.
And, lacking any breeze to speak of, Christmas morning’s bright sunshine brought a curiosity that I answered with hiking boots, light jacket and camera.
Our pond, far enough from the house to require a short walk, but close enough to catch a glimpse from the kitchen window, always intrigues me. And although springtime’s frog population and the summer months’ basking turtles are far more “exciting” to watch, it holds a certain beauty in winter—
when the surface is stilled by ice, its life trapped beneath the surface.

The lightest layer of ice has formed across the water, smoothing the surface like peering through a glass—the leafy bottom easily seen beyond the icy needles.
Soon, the thickening ice will hide her paths, but the trail of bubbles caught beneath it mark her route in and out of the bank--perfectly round, clustered glassy beads of all shapes and sizes.
Though I haven’t seen her since late summer, I know she is here, beneath the ice, waiting for spring.

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Jennifer said...

Great pictures! We have some muskrats in the backyard pond at Audubon. We keep a bubbler in the pond so some water is always open for wildlife. Just before Christmas, I watched one 'skrat pushing through the slushy ice around the perimeter. Pretty funny.

nina said...

We like to use our pond for ice skating. Certain areas have to be "off-limits"--they've broken the ice enough times to interrupt the integrity of the sheet--not safe for skaters.
If it gets REAL cold, even her holes freeze back over.

We seem to always be avoiding stepping in holes here, whether they're moles in the lawn or muskrats in the pond!

Diane said...

Great photos on your blog. I'm on dial up so it takes ages to load ... otherwise I'd truly love to comment more.

These ones of your pond are lovely. We had a very warm Christmas (only 4 below) but it's cooling off again (minus 15 right now) so our pond likely has about a foot of ice or more. There are all kinds of tracks criss-crossing the snow covering our pond -- tracks from the deer, coyotes, moose, and elk. It was lovely to visit!

Diane, observing nature at Sand to Glass
Dogs Naturally

Tom said...

Very nice blog!

nina said...

Diane, what a thrill it must be for you to share space with elk and moose!
I've camped in Banff and Jasper--your country is magnificent. So wild and expansive.

Mary said...

Nina, when we were farther north, our pond when into a deep freeze many times. I kept a small heating disk on the surface to release the gases. It always amazed me to see the Koi near the bottom, not moving, or shifting positions in slow motion. It's a wonder, isn't it?

mon@rch said...

when I have thin ice like this . . I always seem to find myself crunching it! LOL

nina said...

Monarch--I'll bet you like bubble wrap, too!