Monday, April 25, 2011

Slow spring

Too warm for frazil ice, too cool for rapid snowmelt, our recent unsettled weather continues this week with a bit of cloudy damp. The weather forecast leads us to anticipate no frazil ice this week.
Black oak leaves are not quite starting to burst out of buds yet, though they have lower down. Cottonwood flowers are out along the river. Insectivorous orioles are in the Valley now, ahead of most insect food. Redwings are singing in Cook's Meadow, mallards swim in pairs, yellow-rumped warblers sing a bit on sunny days.
Former Yosemite employee Paul Keel, back for a visit, added a new species to the park's birdlist: our first ever white-faced ibis. Paul is a state park ranger now, down on the coast, and he got good photos of the ibis in El Capitan Meadow. You never know what you'll come across, if you're paying attention.
This morning we watched a male belted kingfisher working the oxbow lake in Cook's Meadow. Fun to see a fish predator well away from the river channel.
More predators will be on display in the Conservancy's "Hawks and Owls" field seminar the first weekend of June. Park ornithologist Sarah Stock and great grey owl specialist Joe Medley (yes, the son of Steve Medley) are the two instructors. We are delighted to have these two knowledgeable experts (and charming individuals) teaching this fun program. There's still space available; free camping and free park entry are part of the package. Raptors rule the skies...

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