Monday, March 30, 2009

Bare trees, angry sky

The first boom of thunder sent the Dog, Baby Dog and assorted cats cringing and then darting for cover. They’d all forgotten, apparently, what thunderstorms are. Winter and summer are usually the times I expect extreme weather—extreme cold, heavy snow or heat and drought. However, this weekend reminded me that extremes are just as common in spring too.

Thunderstorms, tornados only a few miles away, the telephone knocked out by a lightning strike. Grandmother Nature was throwing her weight around again. In the end, I was lucky, the tornados missed me and the cabin, though wreaked havoc not far to the south and destroyed mobile homes next door in Lancaster County.

This morning, the sky still has an angry look to it, less angry perhaps than yesterday, but still angry enough. The freshening air brought the local vultures and Red-tailed hawks out this morning before the sun was well up. Ahead of the storms, the weather was rainy, overcast and foggy, so the raptors were taking advantage of the early morning conditions that were better for their hunting than it had been for days.

I thought, perhaps, that once this storm cleared, I would start to see more of spring around the cabin. That may happen tomorrow or the next day but it hasn’t happened this morning.

Yesterday, 15 pine siskins ate their way through my bird seed. These little finches are not inclined to move north again just yet, apparently. I am hoping, for no good reason whatsoever, that they will hang around for at least another two days so I can record them on my April bird list, which would be a first.

The trees are still not showing any sign of impeding leaves, as you can tell from this morning’s photo. I do see a few fat buds here and there but even those aren’t common. Sunday, I noticed a few tiny seedlings pushing through the ground on the forest floor, but it’s still too early to call them anything but seedlings.

I did see and hear the first eastern phoebe of the season this weekend. So far, I’ve only encountered a single bird and that not at the cabin, but it was on Roundtop. This is the first time I've ever seen siskins and phoebes on the same day. That's amazing enough for me, at least for this Monday morning.


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

Well, we just had drizzle all day yesterday along the river. And cold—I actually saw a few snowflakes in the afternoon.

But today is lovely (still cold, though) and I've just been watching a Cooper's hawk play hide-and-seek, unsuccessfully, with birds hiding in the old Christmas tree. (I've written about and photographed this several times on my blog.) No spring wildflowers here yet, but the willows are greening nicely.

Glad you came through the storm okay. I did hear a rumble or two of thunder night before last; first time this year.

Barb said...

Gosh - tornadoes in Lancaster County? I'll have to E-mail my friend who lives in New Providence and see if all is well. Glad your immediate area was spared.