Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Skunks are Awake

The midwinter sun and warm days have melted and evaporated much snow this week; the woods on the north side of our yard are now bare. Nineteen mourning doves visited this afternoon, foraging beneath the feeders among the leaf litter and grass. The woods smell moist as evaporating snow creates a thin veil of fog. A spring-like start to February.

Skunks emerged early from their slumber. Given the weather perhaps they never settled into a long nap this winter. On a walk-about with Kodi today we passed through an area with a pungent skunk odor. Now that they are up and about searching for grubs and insects and worms and berries, they will also keep their nose in the air in search of a mate. Mating occurs around Valentine's Day.

In the morning the ground feels hard after a night of below freezing temperatures. Throughout the day the sun warms and softens the ground. By day's end deer create muddy tracks in the back woods, as they step through the soft snow into pools of water beneath.

The setting sun has melted snow off the fallen logs in our woods, exposing a carpet of lush moss. It feels like woolly bears and salamanders should be crawling about soon, but surely that is still a few months away. Maybe cold and snow will return and the skunks can resume their nap. They still have a few weeks before pressed to consider their Valentine.


  1. I smelled a skunk at my house in New Village in Newmarket just this week! Had to run out and close up the chicken coop. - Brian

  2. Hi Brian - cool on both fronts. I didn't know you had chickens! Although skunks are pesky around dogs and chickens perhaps, you have to like their looks and waddle and defense strategy. Ellen


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