The Notes of Winter

November 1
Last two days temps in the mid-60s and some nice color is hanging on. However, with 30 mph winds today, the sky is full of falling leaves.

November 4
Mid-20s overnight, all of my garden plants are killed.

November 5
At dusk, heard a buck grunting and crashing through the woods, probably in hot pursuit of a doe. A loon was calling from the lake. Off to the west, coyote were howling.

November 13
18 degrees this morning with a trace of snow.

November 22
Bluebirds inspecting the nest box this morning as a potential spring site for nesting.

November 30
Two loons calling, mature bald eagle flying over the lake.

December 8
Cold and windy. A large flock of redheads and a small flock of buffleheads arrived on the lake from the north country.

December 13
There is an ongoing irruption of snowy owls coming south from Canada into the northeast. Ornithologists are reporting that the owls are here in historic numbers even though the invasion is just beginning. Went up to the bluff hoping to see one and spotted a “snowie” in a field of cut corn. Owls have also been sighted at Braddocks Bay, along Routes 5 & 20, and in farm fields west of Seneca Lake.

December 16
8.5 inches of snow since Saturday. Ice is starting to form in the shallows. Tundra swans, common and hooded mergansers, and bufflehead right off my dock. Song birds have flocked to the feeder with the first significant snowfall.

December 21
First day of winter, 56 degrees and raining. All of the snow has melted. Two bald eagles were starting their winter courtship, constantly kak-kak-kaking above their nest at the south end of Canandaigua Lake. They have successfully nested there for quite a few years.

December 22
61 degrees, very windy.

December 25
Beautiful Christmas morning, clear, pleasant and 7 inches of fresh snow overnight. Got my lighted Christmas tree up on my dock just in time. The neighbors were disappointed with my tardiness.

December 26
Wide variety of waterfowl on the lake. Thousands of redheads, 50+ tundra swans, 2 mute swans, 3 ruddy ducks, lesser scaup, common merganser, hooded merganser, coots, black ducks, mallards and one horned grebe. The first red-breasted nuthatch of the season at the feeder.

December 28
The ducks have all but disappeared because waterfowl hunting season is opened.

December 31
A common golden eye was hanging around my dock this morning. It had an injured wing and was unable to fly, probably a result of duck season.


by Bill Banaszewski