Saturday, February 25, 2017


"As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of the world."

― Anna Kavan

Quite the mixture of weather we've been experiencing the past week. Last weekend it was literally shorts and t-shirt weather, and today it was still only 17°F by lunchtime. Freezing rain on Friday followed by snow decorated the landscape in a most dazzling way. Branches were hanging low on many trees and I'm surprised the weight of the ice didn't cause more breaks than what I observed.

While photographing the spectacular scenery this evening, I saw several large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles heading back south. Though speculation on my part, I believe this may have been an example of reverse migration. Since it's still very early in the migratory season, blackbirds remain in tight flocks and move around together throughout the day. Central Wisconsin got around 8" of snow ― I'll bet birds that got that far north turned around as well.

With its beautiful oak savannas and hills, Pope Farm Conservancy seemed a natural choice to document this captivating weather phenomenon. The sun was quickly sinking in the west, so I didn't have a lot of time to obtain the images I was hoping for. The going on the trail was very crunchy on account of the thin layer of snow atop the ice. As I walked, I kept thinking about the angles and the lighting and which spots would yield the best results.

All images © 2017 Mike McDowell

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