February has brought big snowstorms and deep snow to Rangeley! It’s been one of those winter months when it’s hard to move around without snowshoes. The snowmobilers have been whizzing through the woods on the trails, cross-country skiers and snowshoers have been ducking through snow-laden evergreen bows and quietly moving along the fresh snow. At Saddleback the whoops and hollers of downhill skiers can be heard through Casablanca Glades as they carve through the snow leaving powder sprays in their wake. Every week I continue to dig out Red Quill Camp from a new storm and then click into my skis to go play myself!
After coming inside from a snowy excursion I happened to glance out the kitchen window and see a big healthy grouse strutting and foraging at the edge of the woods. I watched him carefully moving back and forth looking for seeds. Suddenly a red squirrel shot out from a nearby tree and darted straight at him! The grouse took off running with the squirrel hot on his heals! He attempted to fly away, and the squirrel darted back to where the seeds were, scampering back into his tree. Slowly the grouse came back for more seeds and the squirrel did it again! Who would have thought a grouse would be afraid of a squirrel!
The other day I stood on the edge of a field with my snowshoes and watched a flock of thirty Snow Buntings dip and swirl and flit around me before moving on. Their small white bodies looked like snow moving both up and down. They are the first migrant birds to make their way back to the arctic, where they claim a spot in the deep rock cavities and wait for the female buntings to come back and join them a month later. These little songbirds travel each winter from the coast of New England back to the High Arctic, and despite all the snow in Rangeley their migration means that there is only a month left of winter. Time to get out and play in it while we can.