Friday, May 20, 2011

Hermit and Porcupine

A bright male hermit warbler was a highlight of yesterday's birdwalk in the Valley. He was in a black oak in the company of several yellow-rumped warblers, a black-throated gray warbler and a Wilson's warbler. We love these springtime collections! Orioles have been silent and invisible this week- did they leave the Valley for lower elevations?
As part of their training on Wednesday park ornithologist Sarah Stock had interpretive rangers out in Ahwahnee Meadow looking at peregrine falcons coming and going from their eyrie up on the Rhombus Wall. She's teaching a terrific "Hawks and Owls" Yosemite Outdoor Adventure program, June 3-5, in the company of great gray owl specialist Joe Medley.
The river and waterfalls are below average volume now but will surely creep back up with a couple warm days here. More clouds come in late Saturday = more waterfalls still flowing in July.
Nearly two feet of new snow fell in the high country this past weekend. NPS road crews have plowed up to Porcupine Summit on Tioga Road. This is beyond Yosemite Creek, before the drop to the long straightaway near Porcupine Flat Campground. It's still many miles and several avalanche zones to Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. At Glacier Point there's still so much snow it doesn't seem possible to open that area for Memorial Day weekend because water and septic systems won't be on line. It'll be a busy holiday weekend a week from now with all visitors concentrated in Yosemite Valley.

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