Then the meteorologists started beating the drums for a winter storm of near-blizzard proportions, a full week in advance. When it finally came, it was a doozy, dumping 30″ of snow in some locations, and 22″ at the Philadelphia Airport. It took two days to clean up.
Finally, I escaped to John Heinz NWR to enjoy it.
Who goes there?
Great Blue Heron, definitely.
Red fox, perhaps. Or maybe one of the feral cats that hang out at the Refuge.
On this walk we had one destination in mind, and we were going to reach it, no matter what. And what, pray tell, was the object of our desire?
The Refuge’s big pride and joy – our new Marsh Boardwalk. A year in the making, it extends hundreds of feet into the freshwater tidal marsh, and gives visitors and schoolchildren an up-close look at the ecosystem. This was the first time I’d seen it in snow.
The duck icebreakers were hard at work. This Mallard hen was determined go somewhere new. She would try to climb up on the ice to walk, only to break through to the water. Rinse and repeat. After a while she had opened up quite a channel.
Two weeks after the Big Storm, the temperatures have rebounded. The snow is all but gone. Darby Creek is ice-free. The trails at Heinz Refuge are clear. People were seen in shirt-sleeves. One weird winter!