Weekly Notes February 24, 2013

Ever wonder about the underwater lives of Beavers during the winter months?  This huge lodge is near Boyd Lake in Ornville, DeLorme ma&g Map 32-33.  A typical family unit consists of the parents and the past year’s kits along with older offspring that may remain with the family for 2-3 years.  As the picture shows, the Beavers have been actively using the access hole which leads up underneath the lodge.  Inside the mud and stick structure, there is a central area where the animals can groom their fur and dry off before joining the others on a ‘sleeping shelf’ built of grass and mud.  Beavers stay active throughout the winter feeding on smaller branches that they have stored beneath the ice.  Looks like this family enjoys an occasional winter outing to find some fresh twigs to nibble on.

Another member of the Rodent family that remains active throughout the winter months nibbling on bark and twigs is the Porcupine.  On a winter walk it is easy to find a porcupine.  If you come across some ‘nip twigs’ under a favorite Porcupine tree such as the hemlock below, look up and you might find as I did, a curiously quilled creature looking back down at you.  Another easy way to find a porcupine is to follow its trail.  They don’t have large territories and their gait leaves a distinctive ‘S’ design in the snow that will lead you straight to a den or favorite tree.  This critter was found in Kittery Dma&g map 1.

After a few weeks of changing weather patterns from warm to cold or wind, not necessarily in any order, there is now continuous snow coverage across the entire state of Maine with more in the forecast.  Click here for the current snow depth coverage map...

The picture below is of an Ice Jam taken on 2/7/13 on the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Grindstone, Dma&g map 43.  Click here for the latest Winter/Spring Flood outlook issued by the National Weather Service...

Ice Jam

Ice Jam on the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Grindstone.

By Thursday, February 28th, we will have gained 2 hours and 6 minutes of daylight since December 21, 2012.  With the lengthening days and warm sunshine the next few weeks are a beautiful time to be outside enjoying Maine Nature.  A month from now we’ll be reporting the first frogs peeping and woodcock migrations.  Meanwhile, enjoy the full moon Monday, February 25th.

Moon by Paul Cyr Photography