09 January, 2010

Icicles and Mystery Tracks

Along with most of the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the grip of a very cold and snowy winter.  I rarely venture outside when it is this cold except to go to work or buy groceries.  And with the short days of winter, it is dark when we leave for work and dark when we get home.  On weekdays I very hurriedly run outside in the cold and dark to fill the birdfeeders and scatter seed on the ground.  Today I got to go out when it was light to fill the feeders.  Even though it is bitterly cold (-1F, -14C) today, I took my camera out to take a picture of the icicles that are hanging from the eaves of our sunroom.  I think the longest is at least 4 feet long.

While I was out I noticed these strange tracks that start and end out of nowhere.

Those are deer tracks along the righthand side, but I can't figure out what made the smaller tracks and how.  They start (or end?) a couple feet away from the deer tracks.

After running sort of straight for about 12 feet, they run in a crazy circle that looks almost like a peace symbol.  Some of the tracks in the circle are from multiple passes of the animal.

Then they just stop ...

I didn't see any blood, so it doesn't look like a bird of prey caught something, but that can't be ruled out either.  The tracks could have been made by a little gopher that surfaced on top of the snow and then continued along underneath the snow.  The snow is about 20 inches deep now.  As I was examining the photos, I saw in the one above at the bottom center what looks like a place where a bird landed or took off just behind the dead leaves.  If you look closely you can see the impression of wingtips in the snow.  I welcome your suggestions as to what may have transpired to leave these mystery tracks in the snow!


  1. Hi Wilma, It sure looks cold there, it makes our snow and temperatures seem tame. Good weather for wearing Crocs though! ;-)

    I agree that the mystery tracks look like they were made by a surfacing rodent of some kind.

    The other tracks look to me like where an owl (possibly? ) landed, killing whatever made the tacks which end there.

  2. A bit like the crop circle mysteries we have here. No idea what caused those tracks. Best guess a bird of some sort. I think Karen is probably right.

    Now that does look cold Wilma. Four foot icicle, twenty inches of snow........brrrrr.

  3. Karen and Keith,

    it is cold, but will be warming up, possibly even get above freezing, this upcoming week.

    I have been reduced to using my sheepskin (fake)-lined crocs for house slippers!

    I agree with Karen that a surfacing rodent made those tracks. But it must be going stir-crazy and running around in circles!


  4. What a view from your house, can I assume the lovely snow shots are of your garden frontage going right down to the road?

  5. So you got some as well Wilma, its starting to thaw here, slowly anyway.

  6. Hello Wilma,
    Just spent a couple of minutes catching up with your blog. The virtual vacation is a nice idea and a good tonic to our snowy and grey grim winter days here in the UK. I'm also envious of your icicles and snowscapes with crisp blue skies - how we'd love to have some sunshine!

    How you find the time to do so much blogging I'll never know, but it's all interesting delightful work!

    A little bit late, but happy New year!



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