Cold

After several days below freezing, I finally ventured out this morning.  Gloves did little to protect my hands from frigid temperatures, especially over the course of several hours, thus I walked away from the experience with a majority of bad photographs due to malfunctioning fingers that simply couldn’t work the camera with any reliability.

Nevertheless, I did walk away with some pictures—images that might surprise you considering they come from Dallas, Texas.  Like this one:

Male mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) frozen in ice (2010_01_10_047938)

That is a mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos), a drake (male), frozen solid in White Rock Lake.  It goes without saying that I found many such scenes.  I promise I won’t share more of them.

The physics involved in freezing a lake are not as simple as you might think.  Truth be told, the process is complicated and takes time.  Yet today’s arctic stroll around the lake resulted in some fascinating scenes—and some heartwrenching scenes as well.

Though I promise I won’t show more of the latter, I will show the former in a separate post where I’ll discuss the physics and mathematics involved, as well as the various types of ice that can be seen under such circumstances.

Meanwhile, I’m spending the rest of the afternoon inside where it’s warm (though I’ll add the temperature today appears ready to climb comfortably above freezing, albeit not enough to melt away the damage already done and the wonders already created).  You can expect a more detailed post tomorrow on the state of the lake and how much work it is for nature to do what has been done.

Lest you think me shallow for the above image and nothing else, there are plenty of goodies to be seen and read in this week’s nature carnivals.

Carnival of the Blue #32 provides an ocean of seaworthy discoveries.  You’ll want to swim right over and float through the collection.

Berry Go Round #23: The Janus Edition roots its way through the season’s plant goodness.  Feel free to leaf through the offerings.

I and the Bird #116 wings its way through a world of avifauna.  Listen to Australian cicadas sing their summer songs as you flit from post to post.

Friday Ark #277 takes on boarders throughout the weekend.  Don’t let your chance wash away to visit a flood of animal delight.

6 thoughts on “Cold”

  1. I with you both, Mary and Jain. I wish I could say this was the only scene like that which I encountered, but it isn’t. And not just birds…

    This is Dallas, after all, and weather like this is unusual (cold we get, but frozen lakes we don’t usually see). Thankfully the weather’s already taking a quick turn toward moderation.

  2. Hope I do not sound heartless, but I find the mallard image to be somewhat beautiful. But also so sad. I always wonder how many birds get trapped when water freezes.

    Lots of frozen water here lately, including portions of the Potomac. It has warmed up here lately.

    While some animals obviously do not make it in wintry conditions, I am amazed how many animals do cope with winter, as well as how they cope. I read “Winter World” by Bernd Heinrich awhile back and it was amazing.

    Looking forward to post on mechanics of freezing.

    1. Not heartless at all, Cigfran7. The truth is nature can be brutal, but it’s still nature and it’s still beautiful in its own way. I don’t look away from a hawk when it’s capturing and eating its prey; I think of the weather in the same way–just a different kind of predator.

      1. Agree, Jason. Nature is not the “peaceable kingdom” that many would like it to be. It is simply not built that way.

        As for raptors: years ago a friend of mine had a red-tailed hawk. I went out with him sometimes when he took her “hunting.” In human terms I guess it was brutal (but last time I checked raptors were not vegetarians). It was beautiful. She simply did what she was supposed to do.

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