A December Hike

Last year the weekend before Christmas snow descended upon eastern Pennsylvania. I drove back to Montgomery County just ahead of the storm. On Sunday morning (December 20) most church services were cancelled or delayed. I decided to take a hike along the Perkiomen Creek to take in the winter wonderland (in September of 2008 I briefly wrote a post about a similar hike, minus the snow) . I took many photos that morning, recently I was sorting them out and I thought I’d post a few of them.

On my way down to the creek I decided to head east to see if some of the farmland that used to be located in that area was developed. I was surprised to find a couple of fields still in use. There was about eight inches of snow on the ground, though it was so light it readily drifted and blew around. The clouds seemed very low on that morning, and in the distance the snow and clouds met almost seamlessly. I tried to capture this with my camera, but all the reflected light resulted in contrast between the sky and ground.

A field on a snowy December day.

I really felt like I could reach up and grab a cloud.

Caution, low clouds.

Evidence of all sorts of wildlife was printed in the snow. Deer and small rodents were the most common. I managed to get within about ten feet of a whitetail deer before it exploded out of the brush and snow it had been bedded down in, I will admit I jumped. I took a half dozen pictures before it vanished from sight.

A retreating whitetail deer.

Birds were also out in force. I saw hawks, cardinals, ducks, a blue heron, and numerous small birds I could not identify. I was disappointed that I did not manage to get a picture of the heron, he was camera shy. The ducks I stalked for about half a mile to photograph.

Ducks in the distance.

The picture above is shot with a 300mm lens, so I am not very close to them. I would try to sneak closer and they would spot me and fly about 100 yards downstream. This happened over and over, until I finally crawled along a berm and managed to pop up behind a tree without being detected.

Mallard ducks socializing.

My camera must have moved a bit, for after taking just a few pictures I was spotted. The ducks took to the sky, flying upstream this time.

Mallard ducks take flight.

A fresh snowfall is quite beautiful. It is even more beautiful in a natural setting with plants, rocks, streams, and animals.

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