The Beginning of the Ice Season

The Ice Begins A short side trip to the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouse on a cold, windy morning revealed a tiny bit of ice beginning to form on the lighthouse and the catwalk. Not dramatic yet, if this weather continues for a few days, the entire lighthouse could be covered in ice. Generally the ice begins to form in mid to late December, right before Christmas, but this year it's starting early. The weather probably won't be cold or windy enough yet to produce anything nearly as dramatic as past winters, but one never knows- two years ago, the ice formed a week before Thanksgiving. Breaking Waves Along with the cold and wind came the gloomy overcast sky, making the images rather blue and cold. As we headed over the dunes toward the lake, we encountered two men in a makeshift shelter. Probably birdwatchers or photographers, the shelter blocked much of the wind keeping them a bit warmer than us. In addition, the shelter could have acted as a blind, making them invisible to the migrating birds. Each year I've visited this lighthouse a week before Christmas to gauge the ice forming, and every year without fail, I've run into Tim, a birdwatcher set up on the pier. He keeps track of the species of birds migrating through the area, and we talk a bit about the lake, lighthouse, and natural parks in the area. I'm sure in a few weeks when I head back, I'll run into Tim once again, making this the 7th or 8th year in a row we've run into each other on the lighthouse pier on a brisk, winter morning.

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