Winter Contrast

IMG_4222This is what my backyard looked like on February 3, 2015. The snow was at least two feet deep and it was bitterly cold, the high temperature that day was 21F (-6C) and the low was -6F (-21C).

This is what my yard looks like today:


A flock of migrating robins is browsing on my bare lawn!

I have lived here for over 25 years and the lawn has never been bare in February. The soonest the snow ever melted was mid-March (maybe twice), though it is usually mid-April when all the snow melts.

Note the post next to the tree (about 11 o’clock) in the above photo.

Here it is last year, same date: IMG_4236 To date this winter, we have received very little snow. What few inches we did get ended in freezing rain, which froze into a thick layer of icy crust.  Walking in the woods and shaded areas is very treacherous unless you’re wearing crampons.

Tomorrow, heavy rain is predicted with a high of 53F (11C) and a low of 46F (7C). Such a contrast from last year! Welcome to the winter that wasn’t.

How are things in your neck of the woods?



About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Country Living, My Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to Winter Contrast

  1. Looks like NH. It was 50 yesterday, mid 40’s today, rain tomorrow and then next week we’re suppose to get a couple of inches of snow. It really worries me because of the sugaring season and the fruit crops. Will there be any?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I wonder how the plants are responding, too. There were a couple of maple farmers preparing taps this week. They may be expecting an early season. With this weather no one can tell!

  2. Beautiful pictures! I kinda miss snow…. just a bit. 🙂

  3. No snow, and much warmer this winter. Not sure where you live…..

  4. arlingwoman says:

    I’ve got robins too! In the rapidly disappearing snow! And a flicker and snowbirds. In fact, in my next blog if I ever have the chance to write it, I have a picture of two snowbirds and a robin together. I’d never seen that before.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Has it been really warm there? Are snowbirds also known as juncos? I see them only in the winter, as they head north with spring.
      We have a small flock of non-migrating robins that fly overhead from roost to feeding areas, but rarely stop here. This flock today I’m pretty sure was migrating, and interestingly, had a couple females as well. Generally, males pass first, establish territories, then the females arrive to choose mates. Nature is fascinating, isn’t it?

      • arlingwoman says:

        Yes, it got warming again. The piles of snow were steaming when I came home tonight. I almost put dark eyed juncoes in parents after snowbirds, but you pegged it anyway. That is exactly what they are. This morning, a whole flock of chatty robins was outside my window, no doubt foraging for insects.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        There was an even bigger flock of robins in my yard this morning – it was a feeding frenzy! This is so early for them to be here. If they really are harbingers of spring, this will be the shortest winter on record!

  5. I’m a bit jealous, my snowshoes are untouched by snow this year. Enjoy the winter wonderland while it last.

  6. Trini Lind says:

    Oh, it looks so lovely!! 💕💕💕💕💕

  7. It’s warm for us in Indiana too – well, it was, but a co,d front blowing through tonight will put us back in the 30s. Crazy weather all round! Keep finding beauty. – that robin is lovely. Blessings, Sarah

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    That is a beautiful robin picture, Eliza. My favorite bird. We are getting a lot of snow here in northern NM. We had 2 feet last week and we will probably have another foot by morning! I have been shoveling a.lot. It turned to ice on our roof and flew off in one piece tearing off our gutters in the process. Yikes!! Do you want more snow?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      No thanks to the snow, I’m actually enjoying walking about this winter! You’re part of the lower Rockies, right? I hear the resorts out that way are having a good winter. Glad someone is happy about the snowy weather! If it weren’t for shoveling, driving and moving about, it is very pretty so long as we can stay in by the fire!

  9. Val Boyko says:

    Lots of robins here as well with just a small amount of snow left on the ground. More that you … Which is weird as we are further south by Philadelphia! Expecting 60 degrees and torrential rain tomorrow. Looks like it will be a short winter this year 😀

  10. Wow what a contrast Eliza. Crazy weather all over the world. 🙂 Great photos.

  11. Jim Ruebush says:

    Today, we had everything except sunshine. It snowed, sleeted, rained, was foggy, and blew like crazy. All in all a nice day…for staying in. 🙂

  12. Hail in the morning and pouring down rain all day WITH thunder, at times. We are all holding our breath and hoping that winter doesn’t think about what it’s not doing. We still have some snow but nothing like normal and it’s all from the piles of the last storm, nothing on the ground but that. It’s so wonderful.

  13. Julie says:

    I just finished reading the children’s book, Energy Island. According to that author, global warming will make the summers hotter and the winters colder. Go figure?

  14. Heather says:

    Such a strange winter! We normally start getting snow in November, with things really kicking into gear in December. This year, the ski slopes couldn’t do their annual winter break business because we didn’t really start to get snow until the very end of 2015. Now we’ve had lots of snow (we are deep in snowpack), but the temperatures have been mild – as in 20’s and 30’s.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Everyone seems to be reporting milder, above average temperatures, except SoCal, which has been cooler than average. The Sierras and Rockies have been getting ‘good’ snow, but the temps. are higher and more is melting. This weather is crushing the ski areas of the Northeast.

      • Heather says:

        It’s a tough time for skiing here, too. I keep thinking I’m going to go (downhill), but then it warms up and the snow turns to mashed potatoes. I can deal with that late in the season after I have my ski-legs on, but I’m afraid of losing a knee if I go out in that for my first runs!

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, no wrecked ACLs please!

  15. Widdershins says:

    The same. We don’t get much snow here at all, but one pathetic little slushie? Harrumph!

  16. MK says:

    Yesterday night/morning it actually got into the low 30’s, and this weekend the high should be in the low 70’s. It seems that the unexpected is the new norm.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Exactly. Extremes is normal. Hot, dry. Wet, cool. Super cold and snowy, no snow at all and mild. Global weirding. Sigh. At least I’m enjoying lots of easy walking!

  17. What a difference yes!! Here we did not have much of a winter last year nor this year… only a few days of snow and ice, but mainly rain and high temperatures, way above zero…
    Have a nice day!

  18. Brian Skeys says:

    We are wet and windy, -21c now that is cold, I cannot imagine what that must be like.

  19. Don’t think we are going to have a winter

  20. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    That is a really graphic example of this year’s strange winter Eliza. Have you missed the snow? As you know we don’t get much snow here in the west of Ireland but our winter has been exceptionally mild and exceptionally WET.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Although it feels weird not having snow, I am enjoying the mobility walking all over. We walk every day with the dog, so it is nice to have the freedom to move with ease. Last year, it was snowshoes required for months – a tougher work out and limited to trails you have to blaze yourself.

  21. adeleulnais says:

    wow I have never seen so many robins together.

  22. derrycats says:

    We’re having a winter that wasn’t in PA as well, and I’m not complaining!! We still have a couple inches left from the 30 inches that fell a week and a half ago, but rain and mid 50’s today will probably wash a lot of that away.

  23. Julie says:

    Climate change and global warming seem very real Eliza, we’ve had a very mild winter here, lots of gloomy rain and high winds. No crampons needed here! I had not appreciated before how wooded your garden is, that must be a real pleasure, snow or no snow.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Only about an acre of our 7 is open. So yes, lots of woods! We’ve had a lot of reforestation in our area over the past 50 years, as farming was abandoned. It is increasing rare to see open land. Hay is becoming increasingly dear as a result. Glad I don’t own livestock!

  24. Cathy says:

    Winter? What winter?! Although it has been cold, grey and damp – pretty usual for winter here – we have also had only one lot of snow and that barely covered the grass. We have had mild winters before, but this is the mildest yet, and our December was the warmest on record! Still, it will take a while for the ground to warm up enough for any bulbs to start appearing, but I am keeping a lookout daily! 😉 That last photo of the bird is lovely Eliza. What is it? Is it the American robin? Quite different to ours.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Exactly, what winter? It is alarming to see that this is a global, not regional, anomaly. Rather hard to not worry.
      Yes, that is an American robin. They are about 10 inches long, the largest member of the thrush family, as opposed to the European robin that is a flycatcher. Settlers saw the red breast and named it after the Old World robin.

  25. spanishwoods says:

    In Pennsylvania, the winter has been mild as well. Some snow a couple weeks ago that caused problems, but in general, very mild. Great shots Eliza.

  26. Treah says:

    Should be a good year for the birds…..they can be out in force to eat all the ticks that are also having an easy winter! 🙂

  27. Maria F. says:

    The “tropical” winter here has been hotter than ever. I know this neck of the woods may not be comparable to yours, but we used to get a lot more rain and cooler temperatures, and this winter here has been very hot. Climate change is beginning to be frightening matter.

  28. We’ve had an unusually warm and cloudy winter in MN, but just received foot of snow. Before that, there were a few inches of snow on the ground.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Maybe some of that snow is headed our way. It seems strange to have so little snow. Today is pouring rain, but not as warm as they predicted. Damp and cold, good day to stay close to the fire.

  29. Laurie Graves says:

    It’s about the same here, only with a bit more snow. This weekend, a friend observed, “It looks like March outside.” So it did, and not a compliment if you’re a Mainer. As your pictures illustrate, we had a little too much snow last year. Just a wee bit. But in my mind, anyway, January and February shouldn’t look like March.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Yesterday and today feel more like late March, early April than February, that’s for sure. It is raining really hard today!

      • Laurie Graves says:

        Oh, I hope we don’t have two months of March this year. It’s starting to look that way, and I expect I’ll be writing about this tomorrow.

  30. We also have had very little snow this year in Montreal and January was 4C warmer than normal. Today, it is 6C and raining after a bit of snow during the night so it is very messy out…Very strange winter so far. (Suzanne)

  31. dorannrule says:

    Big rains expected here today with flash flooding watch – and I am scheduled at the dr. for a BigFoot checkup. Hope I don’t have to swim. 🙂 Love your “contrasts” and especially the last photo. You are so good at this.

  32. I am so surprised. We have gotten so much snow this year, Eliza. Day after day – not fun driving, but very, very fun with my dog and I out hiking around 🙂 He is the best snow partner ever!

  33. Kathy Sturr says:

    So glad you are experiencing a winter respite – especially after last year. I can’t wait to get home to my garden!

  34. Beautywhizz says:

    Wow, what a difference between those two winters. I love the robins on the lawn.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, it was great to see them again this morning. At least 50, if not more. They are ground feeders, so if we get a lot of snow later on, it will not bode well for them. But perhaps they know the weather forecast better than we do!

  35. We rarely see snow here, but to hear that your normally covered garden is bare is quite shocking. Are you disappointed or glad?

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Actually, I don’t mind at all. I’ve had many more winters with plenty of snow, so having a mild winter is okay with me! I like to walk in the woods, so this winter has been great for that. In summer, there are too many ticks to walk just anywhere, I have to stick to wide trails or roads. So I really enjoy the freedom to roam without worrying about getting bit and contracting a tick borne disease, which is epidemic here. Kind of takes the fun out of the warmer seasons. It is a new problem, prior to 10 years ago, the only thing I worried about was poison ivy!

  36. ladyfi says:

    Lovely shots – I like the snow ones.

  37. Robin says:

    Oh! That robin is so beautiful! Winter seems to have missed us for the most part this year. I’m seeing all sorts of signs of spring, most of which are about a month early. That said, we do have a winter weather advisory tonight (after it being nearly 70 yesterday!).

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Robin. I was pleased to see your namesakes in my yard, even if it was way too early to be safely here. We could get a big snowstorm and what would they eat? Crazy yo-yo weather. Though I’m envious of your 70 degree day!

  38. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Our lawn is bare too, Eliza!!! NEVER have I seen it like it is now. The Crocus you saw on Petals is blooming in my gardens right now. In February??? Where do you live? ROBINS??? I had a feeling I would be seeing them soon too but here in WNY never never in February. This should not be happening. Nature is so confused. I worry about those Robins because winter still can hit with a fury. As for my Crocus She is still alive. Amazing! ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I haven’t seen the robins in a couple of days and we got 5 in. of snow last night, so I hope they are safe in the evergreen forest where they can still forage. They are really too early, like your crocus, though we love to see them!

  39. gaiainaction says:

    We hardly ever get snow here in West Cork, but one year we did and I still have vivid memories of the beauty! We have robins in the garden, and last summer a young one used to come into the house to pick up any crumbs going.

  40. Gracefully Global says:

    It does seem that the weather has been changing, doesn’t it? Even in San Diego, things are much warmed. And it has been a few years in Bologna where they’ve gotten a lot of snow in the mountains.

    Loving getting caught up on your blog (a bit at least!). Lovely work.

  41. Beautiful photos! We had very little snow here this year too. I love snowy days and they make for wonderful photos! 😀 I love the bird, what a beauty! ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Kim! We now have plenty as you can see from my later posts and more on the way! The robins disappeared though, hopefully, they’ve found safe havens.

  42. Eliza, you are documenting our changing climate beautifully. But to have robins and a bare yard in mid-February, for the first time ever, is alarming. Your yard looks like ours in the photo from 2/2. We have gotten a bit spoiled by the warmer temperatures here, and haven’t adjusted as we do most years. When it does feel cold and windy, we notice it more than usual. I wonder what the next 2 months will bring? ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Other than the extreme cold this weekend, the extended monthly forecast looks ‘normal’ or a bit warmer. After 50 last week when a few farmers were tapping maple syrup, it seems like everyone is adapting to the unpredictability and moving when the temps demand it. Welcome to the ‘new normal.’ We gotta just roll with it! 😉

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