Monday, January 25, 2010

Calling Steven Spielberg

Remember those scenes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where the clouds winked different colors whenever one of the big UFO’s was near? That’s what I thought of this morning as I was out walking the dogs. Only I didn’t have UFO’s. I had lightning. And wind. Lots and lots of wind.

The dogs didn’t get much of a walk.

Actually, the walk started out well, but I hadn’t gone far before the wind started to pick up and branches started falling, and the power went out all over Roundtop. That’s when I saw the lightning and thought of Close Encounters.

So back up to the cabin we went. I gave up resetting the clocks after the third time. Eventually, the weather will settle out, and then I can reset the clocks. So far I am fortunate in that nothing major has fallen on the cabin.

Still, I stopped the car three times this morning to remove branches from the road that were larger than I wanted to drive over. One time the branch was really half a tree and was too large to move. I just barely had enough room to squeeze by but I did.

On Saturday, the weather was nice enough to go for a hike in the woods and do a little birding. My tally for January so far is 37 species, not too bad. I have hopes that one year I will break 40 species in January. It’s never happened yet but is theoretically possible. For that to happen I will likely need a decent year for winter finches and some decent birding weather. Lightning and wind storms won’t cut it. Maybe next year.


Woodswalker said...

The weather this winter is really weird! It's over 50 today in Saratoga Springs, NY, and the wind is blowing like mad. Good luck on your bird count. My bird feeders have not been refilled for weeks, since hardly any birds are around. Where'd they go?

Carolyn H said...


I have a reasonable number of birds at my feeders, but with the exception of juncos, I am nearly sparrow-less this winter. Are you seeing fewer sparrows?

Carolyn H.

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

It was 50˚F here yesterday, rain, today snowing, and snow predicted for the rest of the week. I have quite a few birds at the feeders.

Your January bird count of 37 species set me to counting…but I'm counting only those birds I've seen here on the river bank. I believe I'm at either 39 or 40, depending on whether or not I've seen a grackle. (I just can't remember whether I've seen one bullying their way at the feeders—can you imagine? A grackle!) Of course I have the river a dozen feet from the front door, with ducks, geese, blue herons, kingfishers, and gulls. But I also haven't yet spotted some of the common visitors, besides the grackles, such as a grossbeak, red-winged blackbird, cowbird, redpoll, pine siskin, or towhee. Nor any owls (barred, great horned.)

In thinking about this, I believe if I were a better birder, and had a good year with two or three unusual species showing up (I've already had that bald eagle and last Friday, bluebirds), I ought to be able to come close to 50 species. I'm going to set that as my goal, anyway.

Hope your power is back and holding.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I have never seen red-winged blackbird here in January and I'm not sure I've had them in February either, though I know to look for them by early March. ditto grackles. I've already had a kingfisher this year, which is unusual. No to the great blue herons yet. No winter finches this year. Oddly, no owls yet, either, though i had them into December. perhas they are on the nest already. in any event, I can't imagine getting 50 species here in January. So far i haven't even made 40! Yet.

Carolyn h.

Cathy said...

Oh yes, another day of rain and wind. And since I'm home, spent the good chunk reading a book because I figure we might lose power. never did.

And with looking at birds, yesterday I think i might spotted a bald eagle flying over my house. not sure, it was one sighting where you go. did I see it?

I hope I was right, all I really saw, splash a black and it look like it had a white head. I was laying on the bed and by the time I got to the window, it was too far to see it clearly again

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: you don't have too many other possibilities for the eagle you think you saw--osprey can qualify as a possibility depending on the angle. And a distant great black-backed gull, but that would be more unlikely than an osprey. And this time of year bald eagle is probably more likely than an osprey. Great sighting!

Carolyn h.

ramblingwoods said...

37 is better than mine for my backyard count..but that wet weather caused our pond to take over our yard and one of my bird ground feeders... Michelle

ramblingwoods said...

I am seeing fewer juncos than usual this western NY