Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tracks in the Snow

Not many people wander around at Swallowtail in the coldest part of the winter. Even on the calmest days, it can be quite windy. However, it is still alive with activity. I walked out to the lighthouse on Wednesday (Feb. 10) with a consultant who is developing a business plan for Swallowtail Keepers Society. It had been several days since it had snowed and much of the snow had disappeared in the current mild temperatures but in protected, shady areas there were still patches of snow. Despite the mild temperatures, the wind chill was such from the freshening northeast wind that ear muffs were welcome. Footing was good in the snow unlike last winter when the path was predominately ice covered.
Swallowtail as seen from the top of the hill between the former Ross Island boat house and the pumphouse.

At the top of the hill there were numerous white-tailed deer tracks and those of a dog. Down the steps and past the footbridge, snow-shoe hare tracks criss-crossed the path, as did those of a red squirrel and probably meadow voles. A cat had also walked out along the path, perhaps one of the feral cats or possibly someone's pet. But ours were the first human tracks since the snowfall.

Meadow vole, cat and hare tracks (left to right) in the snow on the path to the lighthouse.

The consultant had been to Grand Manan many times but other than seeing Swallowtail light from the ferry, he had never actually walked out. He was so impressed with the peninsula and the amazing ocean views. The location of Swallowtail light is certainly unique, from first viewing the light after climbing the hill to look down upon it, the footbridge and long walk out to the light and then the tower itself with its unusual design with one less side at the top of the tower than at the base. There is something to see from one end to the other.

Snowy path on the way to the lighthouse.

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