Monday, February 29, 2016

Ice Off and Sensory Observations

Ice is officially off of the lake today.  To be fair, this may have happened yesterday.  There was ice remaining in the morning, but it was over 60 degrees yesterday AND it rained just after sundown, both of which could have contributed to quickly melting ice.  Either way, I didn't see the ice-free lake until this morning and I like the idea of a Leap Day Ice-Off.  How often will THAT happen?

So... here's that, in the grand scheme of things:
2016: 2/29
2015: 3/23
2014: 4/2
2013: 4/4
2012: 2/22
2011: 3/18
2010: 3/18
2009: 3/9
2008: 3/31
2007: 3/18
2006: 3/10
Not the earliest ice off ever... but darn close!  

I have been a naturalist of many senses this weekend.  Here are some of my observations for most.  I didn't taste anything, and I am not interested (right now) in a discussion about senses above and beyond the 5 we all learned in kindergarten. 
Sight: I saw a woolly bear crossing the trail on Saturday.  I didn't photograph it because 2 kids were looking at it and I didn't want to interrupt them.  Also I didn't want them to think I was nuts.  
Sound: I kept hearing killdeer this weekend.  Never saw one. 
Smell: It's skunky out.  I also know this due to sight, but the smell is more salient.  It's just sort of faintly permeating the air all around, despite what I'm about to mention for feel.
Feel: It's windy.  For the third day in a row.  Unseasonably warm, and extremely extremely windy.  
(Note: this blog entry vaguely reminds me of a nature observation organizer we use for our young students...)

February may be going out like a (wind-blown) lamb, but March is supposed to be coming in like the proverbial lion.  They're predicting dropping temperatures this evening and snowfall starting around 9 pm, with 4-6 inches accumulation.  If this happens, it will (I think) be our biggest snowfall since that 18-incher that happened before Thanksgiving.  In other words, winter of 2016 may be missing winter, and instead manifesting itself in fall and (almost) spring!  Weather is weird. But things are happening -- so happy observing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bird Brained

So yesterday... a small group of Sandhill Cranes flew overhead, heading north.  I didn't get my phone out and on in time for a photo, but they were pretty unmistakable.

This morning, I heard something else unmistakable... a piercing call in the crisp morning air.  At first I just kept walking, then I did a sort of double take.  Wait!  That was a red-wing black bird!  I found him in the tree but this little photo was the best I was going to do, picture-wise.  I heard the call several more times, though... tomorrow's winter storm, if it happens, may be a shock to all these guys!  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

In Anticipation...

I took this photo of aspen catkins yesterday.  This is the first time I've posted such a picture in February -- there are similar photos in March for every year previous to this... interesting. 

Tomorrow, it's predicted to hit 60 degrees!  (Though with winds almost as high, 40-50 mph, so it won't be as much of a treat as it could be.)  Already, it's slushy and muddy.