I headed out to see how high the Beaver River was at the Epping Bridge yesterday, just a short nice drive with my camera. The river had been flowing high two weeks ago by the end of our warm spell, but I suspected it would be partly frozen again after the past week - the coldest week of the winter!
I was right, still an open channel, but the water has frozen almost half the width of the river.
Almost immediately I saw some Canada Geese. Some of them stay here over the winter, so I'm not thinking these are recently returned migrants. But you do notice the geese pairing up and spending time together until the nesting season arrives.
This pair was walking along the very edge of the ice, and almost immediately slipped into the water. The size difference between male and female is minimal, but I think it does show up here, the female on the right being slightly smaller.
Looking north you can see the river disappearing around its bends in the distance. The view reminded me of paddling down this stretch in the summer. There's a bakery waiting at the next stop downriver, in the hamlet of Heathcote which is very welcome once you get there!
Then I noticed more geese. Some pair up early, but 'teenage' Canada Geese often spend a year as noisy trouble-makers before choosing a mate for life. So you often see small groups that are not nesting all summer long. they devote themselves to making noise!
The physiology of all these waterfowl species must be something special. Whether sleeping on the ice, or slipping into the frigid water, they seem totally comfortable.
I'm always intrigued with how the water extends far into the swamp at this spot, currently frozen, but soon to be open water. You could paddle among the trees if you wanted to for a few short weeks.
Back to where I started on the west side of the bridge, the water extends a good 200 yards into the swamp, now all frozen - but perhaps not frozen enough to walk on. You can see the river in the background.
These two shots are from my last visit, way back in early January before my eye surgery - when I hadn't started my 6 week hiatus from driving! Makes me glad March has arrived, and according to the forecast, our late winter cold spell is about to end, leaving temperatures a bit more reasonable.