Monday, December 13, 2010
Long Live Bob Fry
A hybrid yellow-shafted/red-shafted flicker has been seen in El Portal for more than a week now. The last record of such here was in 1957. El Portal also had 5 raptors seen this past weekend: kestrel, sharp-shinned hawk, golden eagle, red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon. Warm afternoons lately have made for good soaring conditions.
But a series of winter storms will bring more precipitation starting tomorrow and running at least a week. Snow levels are expected to remain high (7000') for now. This means that runoff will be strong for the moment but perhaps less so in the spring. The Merced is running at much higher than average volume and the Valley's waterfalls are likewise pretty impressive now. This morning Upper Yosemite Falls was catching a twisty wind and a nice solar spectrum.
Speaking of showers, tonight is the peak for the Geminid meteors. If you can see clear sky between midnight and dawn, you may see as many as 120/hour. Go out at 5 a.m. and you'll see Venus bright enough to cast a shadow; Saturn is just above Venus. Both planets are "in Virgo", which is of no human significance.
Of true human significance is the passing of Yosemite ranger naturalist Bob Fry last week. Bob was an old-timer, a buddy of Carl Sharsmith's, and a living legend to today's naturalist staff. "Encyclopedia Bobtannica" he was called with fondness and awe, in reference to his vast breadth and depth of natural history knowledge. No one will ever know all the stuff that Bob knew about Yosemite. A giant sequoia has gone down and our forest is diminished.