Monday, November 1, 2010

Indian Summer

Another storm Friday night. Tioga Road is closed for now. Glacier Point Road closed then reopened. Exceptionally warm weather is forecast for this week, up into the mid-70's for Yosemite Valley. The river is still above average from the 24 October rains, but is much closer to normal volume than when it filled meadows and covered trails early last week. Foliage is quite colorful in spots still - many of the maples add color with leaves on the ground. Cottonwoods are lighting up now.
Yes, Oprah camped here a few weeks ago, but even better news: biologists at Texas Tech published the formal description of a new species of pseudoscorpion that lives in some of the talus caves along the north wall of the Valley: Parobisium yosemite. There are about 3300 species of these tiny arachnids worldwide, part of a vast, hidden world of scavengers and predators in the leaf litter, under rocks, and in the soil. Pseudoscorpions lack the stinger/tail of a scorpion and are too tiny to harm us. Oprah has 30 million viewers a day but she doesn't get to live in Yosemite like this little critter does.
Once again, Yosemite claims the world championship for the wintertime population of the white-headed woodpecker. My copy of Audubon's 2009 Christmas Bird Count summaries came last week, and there we are: there were more white-headed woodpeckers in Yosemite on last winter's count day than anywhere else. The Yosemite CBC has been the kingdom of Picoides albolarvatus three times in the past 20 years or so. Check the NPS site and consider joining us for this winter's count, 19 December.

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