Friday, April 29, 2011

Wild, Wild Life

Black-headed grosbeaks are now singing in the Valley, there were more orioles on Thursday's birdwalk, and several dozen yellow-rumps encountered in 3 flocks -a tiny portion of them singing. Three Vaux's swifts patrolled over the Valley Visitor Center. Hummingbirds are doing display flights. About a month ago NPS volunteer interpreter Kirsten discovered a rare Virginia Rail near the boardwalk in Cook's Meadow.
On the mammal side, a dark brown bear has been grazing the Ahwahnee Meadow area lately. Two rescue helicopters there on Tuesday night didn't disturb its feeding. Biologists researching our fisher populations are delighted to have encountered a mother with young, moving them from place to place in the south area of the park. Good news for predators and general food web health; bad news for mice and squirrels.
Road crews are grinding away at the extra-deep snow on both Glacier Point and Tioga Roads, slowly making progress to open up the high country for our cars. Tomorrow morning might be cold enough for frazil production, but then it warms up for the early part of the week. There is still a chance for big frazil flows for another few weeks; just because April's over doesn't mean that we won't have some sub-freezing nights in Yosemite Valley.

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