This past week I headed to the trails to capture wintry scenes after the heavy snow that we received over the weekend. I was expecting snow clinging to branches, ice-covered ponds, and was even expecting to hear the sweet sounds of Black-capped Chickadees practicing their songs; all of which I found. When I reached the shoreline of Lake Michigan though, I was taken completely by surprise by how the shoreline had transformed! Until Monday, every time I’ve visited the shoreline, the beach and the lake had been completely open with maybe some icicles clinging from branches on the shore. This winter has been fairly snowy, but it has been warmer than usual (until now!), so the conditions have not been favorable for the ice shelf and ice canos to form. In past years, the ice shelf usually forms in early to mid-January. So I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the Milner Deck to find that the ice shelf, ice canos, and ice caves were forming under a beautiful blue sky! Nearly as far as I could see, ice pancakes were slushing in the waters, the shoreline itself covered in small ice balls, and serious ice covering trees and rocks. As always, when exploring the shoreline, please use caution as conditions can change rapidly. And away from the lake, the rest of the trails and prairies were covered under glistening fresh snow.
Find a time to visit the Center this winter and be prepared for whatever surprises nature offers you.