January Thaw: A period of mild weather, popularly
supposed to recur each year in late January in New England and other parts of the northeastern United States.... Statistical tests show a high
probability that it is a real singularity." (Glossary of Meteorology)
For over a century, New Englanders have talked about the January thaw as an annual event that usually occurs during the third week of the month. Each year, temperatures spike, causing a near total collapse of snow banks and ground cover. The result is a big, soupy mess. However, if you’ve had a winter as snowy as ours this year, it can be a real blessing: especially if you’re running out of places to pile snow in your driveway.
Accounts of the January thaw have always been thought of as more folk wisdom than verifiable fact. But lately, meteorologists have found scientific proof that this thaw is more than local legend. Their data report that most years do show a giant upsurge in temperature from the St. Lawrence valley to the Maritime Provinces each January. They contend that the thaw is not only unique to this region of North America, but it’s unlike any other phenomenon in the world.
Overnight, the neighborhood red fox family (Vulpes vulpes) hosted a dance party in the nearby hay field; by morning, they had left a crazy scattering of tracks (see above) for our consideration. We dallied in the field long enough for Ari to recreate some of their movements and to wish desperately that she had been invited to participate.
We also stopped by to see our wooly friends, Charlie Horse and Lily (Equus caballus and Equus asinus, respectively), who came out of their barn to play in the slush. Their camera-shy goat colleagues wandered out too, but chose to stay out of this amateur photographer’s frame.
Further down the path, we flushed a band of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) foraging near the stream, and also noticed a real increase in other bird traffic. Ari’s personal favorite is the hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus). She must have stood below his tree for ten minutes before moving on.
Low: 34 degrees F
High: 50 degrees F
Ceiling: Unlimited to Partly Cloudy
(Human Translation: more gloppy mess)
(Caninaturalist Translation: Woooheeeeeee!)