Friday, March 27, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to today's photo...

No, this photo was not taken on Roundtop—don’t I wish!

I took this photo about 10 years ago when I was backpacking the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska in late September. The view was taken on our next to last day on the trail, looking towards Lake Bennett in the distance. At this point, my hiking partner and I had the trail kicked. If you can make it up and over the Chilkoot Pass, you’ve pretty much got the trail kicked. We’d done just that the day before and were only a few miles from the night’s camp site, and we were happy campers.

My plans for today’s Roundtop photo didn’t work out.

Late yesterday I was driving back to the cabin. It was raining a bit and overcast. A flock of 20+ wild turkeys ambled across the road, ruffling their feathers, the males displaying their tails and all of them generally just doing what turkeys do. I took a couple of photos. Unfortunately, none of them are clear, even though they looked fine in the little 2 inch camera view . It was too dark. Well, that’s what happens sometimes.

So I ended up photo-less for the day, with my only options to not post today, or not run a photo today or to use an old photo. I’ve been organizing some of my Alaska photos recently, so I thought, why not?

Anyway, back to reality and Roundtop: I’ve still not heard the first eastern phoebe of the season, so the species is now officially late by my records. An average arrival date for the birds would have been two weeks ago. This isn’t a surprise. Phoebes aren’t like swallows returning to Capistrano on the same day every year. Phoebes show up when conditions are right for them and not before. The weather is getting close, I think, to what they consider "right."

Bird migration seems to be running a bit late this year, judging by the pace of reports from the spring hawkwatches. Vultures are moving in good numbers, and Red-tailed hawks are moving decently. Eagles of both species are moving north (but those birds are strong enough to fly in almost any weather). The rest of the crowd—falcons, accipiters and smaller buteos—not so much yet.

Roundtop got about .25 inch of a nice gentle rain, not nearly enough to impact the 5 inch deficit, but it was a start. Once this rain clears the region, I think spring and bird migration will take a big step forward. All at once. Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend.


Lynne said...

We had a trickle of migrants here too and then the temps dropped and things stalled. You're right - it'll all probably take off all at once!

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

Wasn't Chilkoot Pass that terrible steep trail the prospectors had to climb with their loads of supplies as they headed for the gold fields?

Man, that is one lovely scene! I suppose Alaska is full of such views…but still. You can post such photos whenever you want so far as I'm concerned.

I've not heard a phoebe here, either. Though they should be around. It's more likely I've just not been in the right place so far this spring. My field rambles have been sort of messed up lately.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: Temperatures are to be warmi on Saturday before rain, so today might bring some migrants before that happens. If now, well, there's alway after the system moves through.

Griz: Yep, that's the trail. The miners went up in snow,cutting steps into the snow. I didn't have snow, had to climb hand-over-hand up the rocks. It was tough.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Jeff: Blogger slipped a cog while I was moderating your comment. Came up as a "bad request." whatever that is. If you don't mind, I'd like you to try it again. Thanks!

Carolyn H.

barefootheart said...

I like phoebes too. I heard my first one of the season, here in the Brockville/eastern Ontario area, this morning.

Jeff said...

Somehow it eded up on th wrong post but this was my comment:

Always nice to see a nice photo from our area. I participate in the Skagway to Whitehorse road running relay race. Running up the hill always brings to mind how hard it was to carry the gear that those folks were required to bring. Makes running up it carrying only oneself seem like pretty light duty. Highlight of this years race was hours of northern lights. Thanks for the photo.

Carolyn H said...

Jeff: Thanks! this time it worked. I've heard about that road-running race. I don't think I'd want any of the legs that go up that hill just out of Skagway.

barefootheart: I heard a phoebe yesterday too, though not at the cabin. They are just starting to move in here.

Carolyn h.

beetlesinthebush said...

Not a shabby "backup" photo at all - it's a stunning view!