Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Man Winter

is back... This time only a couple of inches, they say. Timely, as last Thursday's 12 inches were pretty much gone by last night. The chicken door, connected to the house by a Rube-Goldbergian contraption that allows remote opening, is not responding, necessitating a trip all the way out to the coop to free them. (Though it's not likely they'll come out much til this clears up.)

Was it just last week I was wondering whether the Juncos had left for good? Not so, they are still here in force and in just about every flavor: one dark-headed Oregon among the pink-sided and gray-headed. One of the latter even has white wing-tips; have been seeing him all winter. Joining them today are a few House Finches and several Pine Siskins. The Towhee is scratching madly under the rabbitbrush... The Downy Woodpecker came by yesterday for a taste of suet; and of course, always the Starlings, Scrub Jays, Magpies. Have not seen a Chickadee lately...

Is it really Old Man Winter, or is this the true face of graceful, feminine Spring? For another take on the seasonal gender, check out the Watcher, who persuasively argues for a female season here in the West.

Either way, yesterday I traveled to catch one more glimpse of the remains of last week's storm. Echo Lake was frozen, not surprising at 10,600 ft (3,231 m). Mt. Evans' vertical surfaces shed the snow, and much of the distant tundra had been swept clear, not quite the white-draped view I'd expected.


Kenton and Rebecca said...

Brrr! Your post made us cold! =) We still have some small patches of snow here and there in Wisconsin, but the maple sap is flowing and it's feeling more and more like spring. Of course, the weather folks have now told us it might snow in the next couple of days, so perhaps we'll get one more taste of white. By the way, we loved seeing the different seasons and lighting in your 'Views from Home' slideshow. You live in a truly beautiful place.

Watcher said...

You know, our Chickadees disappeared a month+ ago as well. Pine Siskins have showed up in force the last month or so and really dominate the feeders- very aggressive. Occasionally we get a Spotted Towhee, who seems the only bird to give it right back to them.

Sally said...

K&R-- nice to meet you, thanks for coming by, and welcome to the nature blog world! Enjoyed your site... Not to worry about the cold factor-- here today, gone tomorrow! Glad you liked the slide show.

Watcher-- Pine siskins are absolute dinosaurs, T-rexes I think! Not sure I've see a Towhee spar with them, tho. The Chicks should be here all year, I thought! Hope all's well with them.