Nature's Focus: The Heart Of Winter
Muscenetcong River at Saxton Falls
All photos by Thomas W. Gorman
By: Thomas W. Gorman
One of the things that I love about winter is that it such a diverse season. In the early part of the season, the temperatures can be bearable and wildlife of all kinds will be visible everywhere; yet as we progress further into the heart of winter, the temperatures generally will plummet, snow storms will arrive and a few days later the temperatures will rise to comfortable levels.
With our recent drops in temperature, mostly all of the wildlife that could be seen, is temporarily hunkered down to not only stay warm, but to also conserve their energy and body fat reserves so they hopefully survive during the frigid temperatures. As the weather creeps above freezing, all of the birds and other wildlife will be out and about gathering more food to get them through the next cold spell.
Passaic River watershed at Lord Stirling county park
During the times that wildlife is in hiding I turn my attention to the scenery around us, and during the dead cold of winter, most landscapes take on a very interesting and beautiful appearance. To hopefully capture some of these scenic landscapes, I mostly will take to the trails or walk the back roads to find something of interest, and of course being properly dressed and prepared for the conditions is a must.
From High Point State Park in the northwest corner of the state, clear down to Cape May, there are literally hundreds of venues and trails which can be visited. Whether the location is a local, county or state park; a forest or wildlife management area, or even one of the many federal NWR’s, the scenery available can simply excite one’s imagination.
Sparta Mountain WMA
One does not need to be a birder, hiker or photographer to be able to enjoy the natural beauty that our state has available to us. The important thing to remember when you do go outside during the winter time is to simply remember a few common sense things such as: dress accordingly to the conditions; carry a small backpack with water, fruit and snacks; and to be familiar with the area where you plan to visit. By following these simple rules your outdoor experience will be more comfortable and rewarding.