Goodbye December, hello January........is this January? Our snow is now history, and I have to look to the skies for color and excitement. I nearly went off the road while turning to see this one. I took it in the center of Phippsburg, but I'm sure it was the same out on the shore.

Center Pond is not frozen which is disappointing to those who like to fish that pond. I've even heard caution about venturing out on any lakes or ponds in Maine. The temperature is hovering up near 50 as I write, and though I've had a pestiferous cold in recent days, I may venture out to open my sinuses.

Later...nothing much new to report after a late afternoon outing over at Small Point. Clammers were digging as the tide exposed the mud flats, and I counted four lobster boats heading back to the harbor. Which reminds me to be on the dock between 3 and 4 PM to see what they are bringing in. I keep meaning to see if shrimp are being caught and unloaded at the wharf on the island.

One thing that I have been observing are piles of feathers in various locations. I have seen a Marsh Hawk, and they would take a bird leaving feathers as evidence. We do have ground birds, such as Ruffed Grouse that spend the winter here. They might fall prey to a prowling mammal. Here are some feathers I recently found which have puzzled me. I wonder what you think they may be from. If you were to run your fingers down the length of one of these feathers, you would be impressed with their softness. I thought they were owl feathers......but who preys upon an owl? Maybe a Bald Eagle? I haven't seen one recently.

I've also been looking for a Snowshoe Hare. These should be easy to spot in our snow-less environment. Their winter protection involves a change of plumage to white which usually makes them blend in with the snow. Without snow, they are a visible target for predators. I did see the beaver yesterday. That animal is HUGE! It was swimming with something in its mouth before diving near the lodge for its underwater entrance.

I'll finish up with this picture (taken from where?!) showing how snow-less we have become once again. It was late in the day, and the sun made the rocks glow. Was the tide high or low? 1/5/07 Januaryized Ronnie.