Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Thaw

Dry mild weather continues for another week; expecting low 70's in El Portal today. There's still a heavy snowpack above 7000', but more bare ground is showing below that, depending on aspect, etc. Ephemeral streams Sentinel, Eagle, Horsetail and Ribbon Creek are all still flowing into the river -unusual for January, for weeks on end, and with 90% snow cover persisting on the Valley floor.
Alder catkins are releasing pollen. Some locals suffer allergies in some Januaries; could be alder, incense cedar, or maybe fine micaceous dust kicked up off of the sanded roadways.
Foresta is snow free and friends took a walk down the dirt road last weekend. Found Lawrence's goldfinches at McAuley Ranch and lots of water in Crane Creek (shown).
Stellaria is blooming in El Portal - a good genus name for non-native Common Starwort. (No relation to GW Steller of the jay, of course; different spellings.) Lamia and native Fiddlenecks will show a few blossoms any day now, if you can believe that. In other stellar news: if you're out before 6:30 a.m. and aren't deep in a chasm such as confines the Merced River, you'll see that the Summer Triangle is already clearing the eastern horizon before dawn and Scorpio crawls into the sky just like a July evening.
This Friday marks 25 years since the Challenger accident. Watch the skies.

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