Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Light and dark

Now that the holidays are over and my daily routine is back to "normal," I am outside during daylight hardly at all again. The woods around me are snow-covered, which means I’m not seeing winter fungus either. So, not much is going on that I can see during the week.

The days are already lengthening a bit. A few birds are now up and arriving at my feeders during the half-light of dawn before I leave the cabin. Cardinals are the earliest of my arrivals. Perhaps half of the juncos that regularly appear show up early as well. I’m noticing that the Carolina chickadees arrive perhaps 10-15 minutes earlier than the black-capped chickadees. Black-cappeds are still the most numerous, about twice as common as the Carolinas, but the Carolinas are first to the feeders. I’d like to know if others who see both species observe the same thing. Another observation is that the woodpeckers don’t arrive at all before I leave the cabin. I guess they like to sleep in longer than the little birds.

I still have no sightings of winter finches to report. My best sighting of the new year so far was of a belted kingfisher down at the old snowmaking pond. That’s the first record I’ve had during January. One bird, perhaps the same one, was a regular into December, and I was surprised at that. My best non-Roundtop sightings were two flocks of gadwall at one of the area’s larger spring-fed ponds and three black vultures at the local state park.

My photo today is of the sunrise this morning as I left the cabin. Snow flurries danced around the forest this morning. You can see that the morning clouds are snow clouds, but I don’t expect any serious snow today. The mornings aren’t really light enough yet to take photos in the woods before I leave the cabin, but it’s getting close. Maybe next week.

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