We made our annual winter visit to the cottage a month early this year. We had a pile of snow last week and then warmer temperatures this weekend, so a perfect recipe to snowshoe in. It turns out that the winter has been so mild this year that this was the first amount of snow that had to be cleared along the private road this winter. The lack of snow has kept the deer feeding on the grass in the meadows and we noticed a huge reduction in the deer trails around the cottage from previous years.
There was some deer tracks going down the driveway, but what was beautifully clear was the trail of our porcupine.
There were deer tracks down by the lake, but closer to the cottage there were no deer tracks.
There was just the trail of the porcupine coming from the forest and up to the cottage.
He seemed to go under the cottage and then come out again, heading down into the forest behind the cottage.
The other place we found lots of porcupine activity was at the oak tree by the gate. The porcupine has been stripping off the bark to eat and left a pile of wood chips in the snow, showing us that this happened recently. We noticed this on our way out and it didn’t occur to me until later that we need to check out under the cottage and make sure he hasn’t been snacking under there too!
This same tree is taking a bit of a hammering this winter. Not only the porcupine thinks it looks like a tasty snack, but the woodpeckers are also looking for food there.
There are several old woodpecker holes in the tree, but higher up there are two fresh holes that have appeared.
We did see some signs of the deer having walked on the lake.
It looks like they were checking out along the edges for open water to drink. There was no open water, but with the temperature above zero I don’t think it will be long before there are some watering holes appearing again. We saw some open water as we drove in, on the lake near the locks.
We didn’t get to see any deer on the property, but we did see three in the forest as we drove out. I only had my phone camera, so it isn’t the best of pictures.
I arrived at the cottage to find my camera battery out of charge, so my phone camera was all I could use. However it wasn’t as much of a disappointment as it could have been. There really wasn’t that much to photograph that I haven’t photographed on previous visits.
The only other wildlife activity we saw was some hare prints in the snow.
So whilst my photographs are not the greatest, they were never going to be that exciting on this visit. It was beautiful, but no more beautiful than on previous winter visits. I know I would have taken more photographs if I had a camera other than my phone available, but in reality I would have come home with photographs very much like the ones I already have.
This visit might not have been the most exciting, but it was good to check in and soak in the beauty for a while. It is always interesting to see what critters are up to, even if we don’t get to actually see the actual animals themselves. And after so many months of winter, it is good to get a little dose of cottage to keep us going until cottage season arrives this year.