During the cold months of winter, the average person doesn’t think about bats; there are none to be seen outdoors or in the attic, where they may roost during the day in the summer. Now is the season when bats in our region are literally fighting for their lives, as they attempt to survive the winter hibernation period.
Fans of Robert Frost’s poetry and lovers of trees might be pleased to know they can now plant a piece of history on their Upper Delaware River region property.
During the first week of February, I visited the north end of Liberty Marsh at the New York side of the border with New Jersey. It is located within the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, a roughly 12-mile-long area of federal refuge lands that surround the Wallkill River.
Several years ago I established an annual practice of “gifting” myself with a roving ramble of this place that I love—the Upper Delaware River region—on my birthday, which transpired recently.
On cold winter days, we usually don’t think on ice or frost except when we have to scrape it off the windshield of our vehicles, or salt the walkway so we don’t slip and fall. Occasionally, especially when it is very humid or foggy and below freezing, or we are right next to a stream or river, we can see a more interesting frost.
Somehow, Squirrel Appreciation Day sneaked past me on January 21st without the proper praise the occasion warrants. So belatedly, I celebrate the clever, cute and captivating rodents that rob many a feathered friend of its food sources at backyard feeders and suet blocks, while entertaining us with their squirrely antics.
We have passed the halfway point of winter, and the busy holiday season is behind us. This is what some people describe as the winter doldrums, and perhaps a few cases of “cabin fever” are setting in. For some of us, spring cannot come soon enough.
With the exception of the feathered friends who ply our bird feeders (and the rascal squirrels that rob their share), it’s easy to believe that most other creatures have vanished into thin air at this time of year. Animals we often encounter in warmer months seem to be absent as we hike or drive in the Upper Delaware River region.
Sometime in the early 1970s, I rented the Cessna Skyhawk from our aero club near where I was stationed in Germany. Although it was a little breezy, the weather forecast was good for that Saturday afternoon. I took my camera along, which was a Minolta 35mm film SLR at the time; I was hoping to get some aerial photos of some nearby landmarks.
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again,” wrote 19th-century American poet, philosopher and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson.