Friday, January 12, 2018

Nature in Winter

We humans, native to the Tropics, tend to prefer warm, sunny weather.  Indeed, a significant portion of our population shuns winter altogether, venturing outdoors only to get the mail, walk the dog or fill the bird feeders.

Such disdain for winter is unfortunate since nature has much to offer during the colder months; if prepared with warm, layered clothing and appropriate footwear, one can take advantage of her gifts.  Those who brave the elements to visit nature preserves will find that non-hibernating mammals, invigorated by the chill and driven by the need for sustenance, are especially active and conspicuous.  Vistas are broader, trails are firmer and those pesky insects have either died off or escaped to their wintering sites.  Birders know that many avian species can only be observed during the colder months and that rare visitors (especially irruptive species) are most often encountered at this time of year.

Finally, for those of us who treasure solitude, the winter season offers abandoned trails, uncluttered parks and the opportunity to explore nature's ecosystems in quiet mode. We may have evolved in the Tropics but our adventurous spirit has taken us across the globe and into winter's realm.