The sun crept up over the horizon this morning at 7:47 AM and set again at 4:58 PM. We gained about eleven and a half minutes from last Monday so we're at 9 hours 10 minutes and 57 seconds of sunlight. Spring may be coming second by second but the deep of winter is just around the corner.
Nature's Week in Review:
Monday of last week was warm and a just a prelude to Tuesday. We recorded a high of 46° but that was in the shade in the middle of the woods. I still hadn't see a Hairy Woodpecker yet in 2012 and it was starting to bug me.
Tuesday was wonderful and warm. We need days like this in the winter to help us though. There were snow craneflies flying around and a lone house fly at the windows at work. It is always cool and nothing short of incredible to see insects in the winter since they are exothermic i.e. cold blooded. The Hairy Woodpecker still eluded me. While out on a hike it felt like spring and the warm weather made it feel like warblers were just over the next hill about to come into view.
Wednesday was a sudden shock to the system after the heat wave of Tuesday. The day just got colder and colder. I took a hike with some volunteers in the afternoon. We spooked some deer but otherwise it was pretty quiet wildlife wise. We did see some coyote tracks. Still no Hairy Woodpecker.
The rest of the work week was fairly uneventful except for Friday morning. I left a planning meeting early to run out to an outreach event at a school and sure enough I heard loud tapping on a nearby tree. I looked up to see my first Hairy Woodpecker of the year. This was a good sign of things to come for the weekend.
Saturday began a long holiday weekend and I spent the entire day birding. I woke up a little after 4:00 am and headed out to meet friends and head up to Sax-Zim Bog for some northern birding. We arrived on the outskirts of the bog area just as the sun rose. We spent the entire day driving to various sites looking for our target species. I had never made it up there so I was able to add a few "lifers" to my bird list. I saw my first ever Boreal Chickadee, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Black-billed Magpie and Great-Grey Owl. In addition to the lifers, I we tallied up a bunch more species. Our list for the day included, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch and Evening Grosbeak. It was quite a day of birding.
The Week Ahead:
Winter will finally catch up to us, at least the cold part. There's some super cold air hanging out just north of the Canadian Border (super cold as in-35) and there's a good chance it will start to spill south later this week. We'll likely see our first sub-zero morning temperatures Thursday. Thursday will be a special brand of cold we've not felt since last winter. We're talking a high near zero. Where'd I put those snow pants?