Monday, February 18, 2008

New Arrivals

Weather extremes and oddities continue on the mountain this weekend, though by now, I’m starting to think that "oddities" are the new normal. Ice has now given was to temperatures 30 degrees above normal, though that won’t last past noon today.

This morning’s warm weather has brought with it the year’s very first spring arrival. The fog is so dense right now I can see little up on the mountain, so today’s new arrival was heard only. The killdeer have arrived again! I heard several of them, at least 2-3. Obviously, they can’t have been far away if one morning’s warmth is enough for them to appear on the mountain. So perhaps calling them a "spring" arrival isn’t entirely accurate. They likely spend the winter hanging out along a nearby river, and today’s warmth and mud was enough for them to show up and see if their beloved stoned parking lots are still here. Last year my first record of them in the new year was on February 27.

Because of the morning’s high temperatures, in a way, I can also say I have a second new arrival--mud. Mud is everywhere right now. A layer of mud even coats the top of the rapidly retreating ice, making many areas very, very slippery. Tonight, the temperatures are to drop back to a more typical range for February, and if the muddy icy isn’t gone by then, it will be every slipperier than it is now. Dog and Baby Dog skid and slide on the muddy ice, and both normally have better traction than I do. I’m wearing "tire chains" on my boots and can get around fairly well. I much prefer snow to either mud or ice, though in the scheme of things, I think I prefer mud just a little bit to the ice.

I had to take this morning’s photo down off the mountain this morning, as up where I live it was too foggy for a photo. Sometimes foggy looks mysterious or arty, but sometimes fog is too dense for that. This morning was one of those times.


ChicagoLady said...

We're back to bitterly cold temperatures. All the rain we received on Sunday added to the melting snow, and we have water everywhere, in any low lying area. It will be a real mess when it warms up again, IF it ever warms up again. I'm beginning to think Chicago is the new Arctic Circle.

PA-Birder said...

I had my first Killdeer of the year on the Big Spring this past weekend. It has been an unusally sparse winter season for Killdeer last year I saw them through the winter.

Carolyn H said...

Chicagolady: It's colder here again too. Water and mud was everywhere on Monday, now it's all frozen again.

Vern: so my killdeer isn't atypically early for this year. I don't ever remember having them throughout the winter, though perhaps I would if the winter didn't have much/any snow.

Carolyn H.