A Holiday Display, Courtesy of Nature

December Snow

December Snow

In a weather pattern that is pretty unusual for New Jersey in December, four snowstorms in a ten day period each brought a few inches of snow, sometimes with a mix of freezing rain or sleet.  The result?  A holiday display visible right outside our windows!

Anyone remember flocked Christmas trees?  This snow covered White Pine (Pinus strobus) could be the inspiration for them, although nothing we manufacture could provide such a lovely shelter from the elements and predators for birds in winter.

Snow covered White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Snow covered White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Other decorations include the aptly named Wreath Goldenrod (Solidago caesia) arching gracefully under its weight of snow.

Wreath Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

Wreath Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

In place of a candelabra, a Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) fruit cluster brightens its surroundings, while offering food for Goldfinches, Chickadees and even Dark-eyed Juncos.

Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

No need to string cranberries or make other garlands when the red fruits of Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) blaze on snowy branches.

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Like using tinsel or other ‘icicles’ to decorate your tree?  One storm provided the real thing.  A little ice doesn’t deter this Tufted Titmouse from its pursuit of a meal.

Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow on ice

Tufted Titmouse and White-throated Sparrow on ice

I like bird ornaments on a Christmas tree, but even better are the live models posing outside in the trees

Northern Cardinal, male

Northern Cardinal, male

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Chickadee

Chickadee

House Finch, female

House Finch, female

and on the ground below.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Northern Cardinal, female

Northern Cardinal, female

Northern Cardinal, male

Northern Cardinal, male

Just across the Delaware River from us, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve was also blanketed with the fluffy white stuff.

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Pidcock Creek from the bridge

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, Pidcock Creek from the bridge

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, the Violet Trail

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, the Violet Trail

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moschuetos) on the Gentian Trail

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moschuetos) on the Gentian Trail

Snow-covered fruits and leaves decorated the woods exactly like holiday ornaments dangling from the trees.

Ironwood, also called American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

Ironwood, also called American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Possum-haw Viburnum (Viburnum nudum)

Possum-haw Viburnum (Viburnum nudum)

BlackJack Oak (Quercus marilandica)

BlackJack Oak (Quercus marilandica)

Snow tends to be ephemeral around here, and this weekend with temperatures in the 50s and 60s it has almost disappeared.  (65°F at 7 o’clock this morning!)  But even without the cover of snow, beautiful natural decorations are visible in some form every day of the year.  So get out and enjoy them whenever you can!

Happy Holidays!

December Snow

December Snow

13 thoughts on “A Holiday Display, Courtesy of Nature

  1. What a wonderful series of snowy photos of trees, flowers & birds. You found so many treasures, Mary Anne. Thank you for the exquisite Christmas / Holiday card! Warmest seasonal greetings to you & your family 🙂

  2. What a plethora of snowy delights you found, Mary Anne! These photos if birds, seed capsules/ pods, and above all the birds, are just wonderful, and a perfect Christmas / holiday card. Thank you so much. Seasonal Greetings to you and your family 🙂

  3. Mary Anne,
    Thank you for reminding us all what a beautiful place we live in if we just look. Some of these photos are candidates for Christmas cards!

    Stephanie

  4. Pingback: A Holiday Break | The Natural Web

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