Monday, March 23, 2009


Today’s photo was taken at spring equinox (March 20). This photo was taken 23 days after my second photo for Experiment #2 (see below). The sun is now setting quite a bit further north than it was back in early February, when I took the first photo. No wonder the days are now warmer.

Equinox is a time of balance between the hours of daylight and the night. It marks the time when winter is over and spring begins to take hold. And yet, both winter and spring are still in evidence here on the mountain. I still have pine siskins at my feeders, but the robins are here too.

I have a fantasy that I will somehow get a photograph showing both the siskins and the robins in the same frame, but I am already realizing this is something of a fantasy. So far, I haven’t seen the two species within 50 yards of each other, let along close enough to get them both in the same photo, though the idea that this year such a photo is at least a possibility keeps me on the lookout.

Over the weekend, I saw my first Mourning Cloak butterfly stream past as I enjoyed a few moments of sunlight out on the back deck this weekend. They are always the first butterfly of the spring season, but I seem to always be surprised when I see them. Perhaps it’s simply that after the butterfly-less winter, the sight of the first one is a happy sign that spring is truly here.

This weekend, Turkey Vultures were migrating north in good numbers. I saw many kettles, or flocks, of them, each with perhaps 10-15 birds. I saw a few hawks, too, mostly Red-tailed Hawks, circling and heading north. At least a few of those must have been migrants, though on warm days like this one was, the local birds could be out enjoying the air, too.

The days are warm, flirting with 50F though not always successful at reaching that temperature. The nights are often still down in the 20’s, sometimes the lower 20’s. The old and new seasons are side by side here on Roundtop right now--winter with spring, old with new, siskins with robins. Like the equinox itself, this balance will be held but briefly and then the year will turn a bit more and winter will be gone.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I really like your sunset photographs—the progress they clearly reveal in the sun's northward journey (okay, our tilt—though I like the idea of the sun coming to us better than us bowing to the sun.)

Your butterfly mention reminds me that I haven't seen a single one so far this year—which means, I'm sure, that I haven't been watching carefully enough.

Pablo said...

The turkey vultures have returned to Roundrock.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: i'm actually kind of embarrassed that I never paid too much attention before to where the sun sets. Oh, I was aware that it was different between winter and summer, but I never noticed before I started Experiment #2 just how much "it travels" or "we tilt" until now.

Pablo: I'm surrprised they are only now just returning down where you are. Turkey vulture migration is going great guns up here now. Most days I see 100 or so. I'm sure that number would be much bigger if I could be home all day.

Carolyn H.