Colour In the Winter Woods

At a glance, the winter landscape in New Hampshire may seem somewhat monochromatic. Right now, there’s a vastness of white snow, a multitude of tree trunks in shades of brown and grey, and a smattering of conifer green. Even the sky has been shadowy, pewter, slate, or ashen most days since November.

But if you look more closely, you’ll see colour here and there, in leaves still on trees, in tree trunks, in fungi and lichen on tree trunks, in berries, and sometimes even in flitting birds. Today on a snowshoe walk I actually spotted some orange carrot peelings and pale green celery tops that someone had tossed into the woods on top of the snow, maybe for animals to eat?

Here are some other colours seen today, a lovely (though cloudy) 31F Wednesday in the middle of winter.

beech leaves often retain their orange autumn leaves through winter
this tree — really a snag now, all carved out — had caught a small red maple leaf.
my photo is a bit blurry but the new green of the moss against the reddish moss (or lichen?) on the tree trunk was striking
a couple of old winterberries (Ilex verticillata)
this fungus isn’t all that colourful but it is stripey
I think this blue is slime flux, caused by bacteria under the tree’s bark

A few less colourful shots from today’s snowshow walk:

barbed wire around a yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) tree trunk
a snowy field and a slaty sky
saw a number of trees shedding their bark like this
I like the look of this hemlock between the trail and snowy field


  1. I love this. Especially the beautiful pictures. Bark on trees has always fascinated me. Each tree has it own pattern. Just like watching birds—some are ground feeders, others eat from bird feeders. Then some hop and others walk. God designed a beautiful universe for us to enjoy, even in the cold winter days. Take care of yourself and stay well. Dolly Pugh


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