Snow shoeing, as I quickly discovered, is hard work, even if it beats sinking up to my thighs in crusty snow with each step. After checking out a well-maintained spring house next to the road and seeing only a mystery frog and some tadpoles, I set off for the far side of the property, towards the base of a forested hill where the map read "Old Spring House."
I turned around (a very deliberate action in snow shoes) and tromped back across the fields towards the marsh.
Back at the marshier parts of the property, I took advantage of a frozen creek, much as the other mammals in the area have done.
I kept an eye open for springs in the marsh. In warmer weathers these are spots that, if you spot them ahead of time, look deceptively solid, with mud sort of pushed up into the clear water that blankets the other spaces between the shrubs and sedges. If you don't spot them ahead of time, all you know is that you are in up to your crotch when a second ago your waders had at least a couple feet of clearance. I poked around in such a spring - now clearly identifiable as an open patch in the marsh ice - but found nothing. (note to self, I REALLY need to get a proper dip net)
Back to the car I tromped, but on the way back I decided to check out that first spring house one more time. Like a lot of nicer spring houses, this one featured thick growth of watercress along the spillway - quite bright and yummy in warmer times, but now wilted and spotted. I picked up a clump of watercress and noticed one of those tadpoles wriggling away, but this time I got a close enough look to say that it wasn't a baby frog or toad.
I picked up another clump, and then another, and soon I had a couple of the larvae to examine more closely (these are about two to three inches long):