Saturday, June 4, 2011
Our cycle of stormy weather continues with another cool, wet weekend. We had rain and snow over Memorial Day weekend, but that didn't prevent traffic gridlock in the east end of Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point Road was open for a day before more snowfall closed the road again. It's been open this week, but some snow is likely on Sunday, perhaps below 7000' (= another closure seems likely).
Scott's Oriole was added to the park's bird list last week; another new species to add to the white-faced ibis seen a couple months ago. I saw a Lewis' Woodpecker above Foresta on Thursday - one of the 12 woodpecker species (!) in Yosemite records. Some of us feel that we are short on Pacific Slope Flycatchers this spring. The Conservancy's 'Hawks and Owls' course is happening this weekend and there is a lot going on in the raptor world, with peregrine and eagle nests lining the Merced Canyon. There is still space in the casual White Wolf Botany course and the North Dome Moonrise Photography Backpack Trek in July.
It doesn't appear that the Tioga Road will be open in time for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, but the birds will be there anyway.
Thursday night NBC did a program on the park's big waterfall flow , while the falls have actually been running at average or below average volumes for about half of the past month. We had early peaks on 7 and 14 May, which were higher than the average annual peak flow, but were maybe 60% of last year's high water mark. The slow advent of spring warmth may mean no snowmelt 'flood' this year, just a long period of higher water. Or a sudden spike in temperatures could send us a big pulse of meltwater; that's not in the immediate forecast. The waterfalls should still be strong if the royal couple visits Yosemite in July.