Discover Nature this Winter

The Holiday Season is here, and Winter Break is fast approaching.  While you are enjoying the holiday cheer and some well-deserved time off, don’t forget to get outside and explore!  Despite the cold and the seeming emptiness of winter, it is actually a great time to be out in nature.

Bundle up and get out early to observe interesting frost patterns on icy mornings.  Look around mulched areas and maybe you’ll find larger ice crystals growing upward from beneath the garden.  Hit the trails and visit the woods.  It’s neat to see just how different a forest can be from season to season.  Our woods here at Honey Hollow seem so dense and jungle-like in the summertime.  Now in the winter, they are so open.  In some places, you can see from one side to the other.  in other places, they seem empty and endless.  I often will see trees and rock formations that are obscured during other times of the year.  It’s also much quieter.  Stop and listen for a second or two and enjoy quiet of the winter forest.  In summer there are so many birds and insects making noise, in the winter you may not hear a thing!

It is also a great time for spotting animals.  In an open area, with some patience, you can watch as the forest comes to life.  Without leaves on trees and bushes it’s much easier to spot birds in and around the forest.  Scan high in the trees that over-look fields and meadows, these are places hawks like to perch.  You may get lucky and watch as it spots something below and dives down to grab a meal.  Smaller birds can be found in the brush along the edge of the woods.  This is where they find various berries and seeds that make up their winter diets.

Look carefully, even though there isn’t as many places for them to hide now, animals still do a good job of blending with their surroundings.  Deer for example, will be tricky to see as their fur turns to shades of grey and tan to blend in with tree bark and dead brush.  Watch for the whites of their tails as they spring to life as you sneak closer.  A sneaky fox may look bit more brown than orange as it scurries among the fallen leaves of the forest.  If you’re lucky and there is snow, you’ll have no trouble finding where animals have been as they leave tracks for you to identify and follow.

You never know what you may find or see, so get out there this winter and explore and investigate.  Can some good fresh air, then come in and warm up with a warm drink and enjoy your newest gifts.

Happy Holidays!

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