Friday, April 20, 2012

It has Sprung

Apologies for the long silence here at a time when so much is happening with the change of seasons in the Sierra.
We had a couple of decent snowstorms last week, now it's very warm.
The Merced River has finally gone to above average volume (at about 1700 cfs overnight at Pohono Bridge) and Table Rock is partly under. Waterfalls are looking quite good. Sentinel, Royal Arch, Eagle and Ribbon Creeks are all flowing into the river. Horsetail trickles into Wosky Pond.
Because our snowpack has less than half of average water content, we don't expect a high runoff this year - very different than last spring. The big melting this week suggests an early peak, too.
Our regular Monday and Thursday birdwalks in Yosemite Valley have turned up lots of singing yellow-rumps and the R2-D2 songs of orioles. Black-throated gray warblers are in, as are black-headed grosbeaks. We haven't seen flycatchers (other than black phoebes) or vireos yet in the Valley, though we know they're nearby.
Flowers in the Merced River Canyon west of the park have been dazzling for the past few weeks: poppies, redbud, birds-eye gilia, caterpillar flower, wallflower, false goldfields, popcorn flower, fiddleneck, cranesbill and dozens of others are still putting on a marvelous show. Buckeyes are green, and the live and deciduous oaks are adding new foliage and dangling their flowers.
Conditions look to be perfect for Dave Wyman's "Spring Light Photography" course, May 17-20. There are a few spot still available; free park entry and free camping are included.
As if we needed one more sign that spring has sprung: Glacier Point Road opens this weekend.

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