One unexpected consequence of becoming a full-time wildlife photographer has been that for the first time in my life, I’m actually wishing winter would make way for spring. I’ve always been a winter lover, but after going out into sub-zero temperatures every day for weeks on end, and wading through knee-deep snow for a couple of months, I’m ready for some green grass and leaves on trees.
It’s not just the cold and snow that have me wishing for a speedy end to what used to be my favorite season. It’s also the variety of wildlife I see when I do get out there in the elements. There are only so many species that stick around up here in the northern climes through the winter, and I’ve seen and photographed most of them. Multiple times. I’m ready to see the animals that follow the retirees to the tropics.
We still have about three weeks of winter left, so I’m not putting away my chemical handwarmers and snow pants yet. I’m just hoping some migratory birds decide to try to beat the rush and head north earlier than expected. It would be great to be able to catch a few mountain bluebirds against a backdrop of snow-blanketed evergreens, or possibly a couple of redhead ducks paddling around a small strip of open water, if it ever warms up enough for some of the ice to melt.
Maybe some bears will start coming out of their dens, too. When you’re watching a bear rooting around in the snow, you don’t feel the cold or the wind.
Granted, even when spring does arrive, we’re sure to have several more winter storms. But as long as the critters come back from the south, I can handle a little more snow and wind.