The Merced is running at less than 30% of normal volume, and the watershed still has a way to go to recover from two dry winters.
Yesterday's Christmas Bird Count featured a frosty cold morning then comfortable warmth in the afternoon (unless you were in the shadow of the south wall). Compiler Sarah Stock organized quite a large group of birders, and the birds responded. It's a good year for the colorful varied thrushes, a species that migrates here for the winter, though it doesn't come every year. Early efforts turned up quite a few owls, too: pygmy, screech and great-horned.
Solstice happens on Saturday, when the long, cold night dominates the Sierra. Have a closer look at Yosemite's winter on one of our snowshoe outings. Here's hoping for a snowy new year.