It was -4° F as I left the house and hadn’t even gotten to the car when there was a “Thunk … Thunk … Thunk” sounding from a tall red maple in the yard. Up in the tree was the cause of all that thunking – a female pileated woodpecker all fluffed up against the cold –
Most pileateds are quite wary, but this one ignored the human walking around beneath the tree; she finally left after she’d extracted the insect(s) she’d been after.
With that I headed to the Big Woods to walk an old road. The roadside ditch still had some open water and the road passed some wet spots, called spring seeps, where warm water welling up from underground had melted the snow.
In both areas water vapor had frozen into beautiful and delicate ice crystals –
A week later the temperature had risen to a spring-like level putting a temporary end to the formation of ice crystals.