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After numerous days of torrential rains and relentless wind gusts, it’s refreshing to get a glimpse of blue in the sky.  Could winter’s fury finally be giving way to a calm resignation that its days are numbered?

Strong winds caused many tired and weakened trees to snap.  There seem to be even more diagonal lines in the forest. 

Rain water has gathered in the recesses beneath uprooted trees and in lower lying areas in the woods.  Known as vernal pools, these temporary wet areas not only provide animals with access to fresh drinking water, but also contribute to the biodiversity of the forest.  Amphibians thrive around these pools as do numerous varieties of mosses and grasses.  They will slowly dry up, but be filled again during subsequent rainstorms.

The rain melted all the snow, which is not at all good for snowshoe hares still wearing their winter white coats.  By contrasting more with the landscape, they become easier prey for foxes, coyotes and bobcats.  Hares will begin acquiring their brown coats later this month.  Until then, they’ll just have to keep a low profile and run a little bit faster if they want to survive until spring.

After every storm, the sun will smile;  for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.
~ William Alger

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This weekend Nova Scotia was bombed with its first storm of the decade.  Snow, rain, wind, high waves and power outages were all part of the mix. 

A covering of snow gave the woods a cozy look.  Somehow, looking at bare branches in January makes the cold seem even colder.  Unfortunately, temperatures are rising, so this snow might not be around for long.

These tracks were already dusted with snow when I saw them in the morning in a spot where I often see snowshoe hares.  

Low pressure systems often bring storm surges that can make for especially high tides.  They’re caused by winds pushing on the surface of the ocean, making the water higher than usual in some places.

The tide surge made the waters passing under Bald Eage Bridge in the salt marsh seem higher and more forceful than usual. 

Waves up to 8 metres in height were anticipated off the coast.  Radio announcers from Seaside FM were expecting surfers to be catching the waves around Cow Bay, just down from the moose. 

In the marsh and in the woods all was quiet.  At least wildlife has the sense to lay low during storms, find a nice cozy spot to hunker down in and conserve energy until the worst is past.

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High winds and stormy waves have thrown heaps of marsh grass across the salt marsh trail.  They’ll freeze into ragged mounds that will make passage here more difficult through the winter months.  But grass isn’t the only thing that the storm blew in…

Who would have thought one could find so many different types of sports balls in one morning’s walk?

The trap and skeet club might be missing a rack…

Does the discovery of this vacuum cleaner attachment mean that there’s also a vacuum cleaner out in the marsh somewhere?

The sudden presence of this enormous waste bin is a testament to the power of the winds and waves.  I wonder if someone should call Waste Management and let them know?

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waves after bill

Waves are still high this morning even though Hurricane Bill left our waters yesterday as a category 1 hurricane.  Damage was minimal compared to the havoc created by Hurricane Juan in 2003.

seaweed

Seaweed litters the beach and is still being brought in by the increased wave action.

flying insects on beach

Swarms of flying insects hover around Rainbow Haven Beach.  Mosquitoes often multiply after hurricanes due to the increased presence of standing water.  Elsewhere in Cow Bay, swarms of surfers are heading out to catch the waves.

Bird and squirrel activity appeared to be back to normal after the tremendous downpouring of rain.  The forest floor is covered with leaves shaken off the trees.  Only some standing dead wood seems to have been brought down by the wild winds.

leaves on forest floor

It could have been so much worse.  And for that Nova Scotians are all breathing a sigh of relief.

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