Friday, October 26, 2012

Click or Treat

It's a great time for photography in Yosemite. Though the sugar maple has gone bare, the big-leaf maples, dogwood and dogbane are really bright now, if you're in the right places. Oaks and cottonwoods are waiting their turn in the Valley. The Crane Flat and Hetch Hetchy areas are really colorful now.
-Photographers Keith Walklet and Mike Osborne still have a few spaces in their November 1-4 field program with Yosemite Conservancy. They are a remarkable team with a lot of Yosemite accomplishments to their credit.
-Two dark bears were seen for several days eating acorns high in a valley oak by the railroad engine in El Portal. In Yosemite Valley, they've also been harvesting directly from the canopy. With bathing suit season over, the bears are trying to take in 20-30,000 calories/day so they'll have a comfortable winter's sleep.
-Winter birds have arrived: juncoes, white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows have descended to find seeds in snow-free El Portal for the winter. Varied thrushes have been seen in the Valley and near Merced Grove already. Naturalist Dan W. reports a meadowlark in Ahwahnee Meadow from earlier this week, when he was leading a "Yosemite Insider Experience" group for the Conservancy.
-We had another mild storm come through Monday, closing Glacier Point and Tioga Road with a few inches of snow. They're both likely to re-open shortly. The precipitation finally initiated the river's seasonal rise, from the year's low of 18 up to 26 cfs. Normal would be in the low 30's.
-I had a chance to examine one of the hand-hewn wooden stakes that John Muir used 1872 for the first quantitative glacier study in the U.S. It was found by NPS personnel on the 1936 glacier survey and brought to the park's museum archive. It was pretty interesting to handle something that Muir himself made when he was up at our glaciers with Galen Clark and Joseph LeConte. Regretably, Muir didn't bring his digital camera on those two trips...

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