Return of Rain

It rained overnight and a little bit today during a brief period or two today. Looking at the weather data for today, it appears that the total (at the airport) is only 0.06 inches. Although the moss on the berm of my yard looked quite wet, when I checked layers were dry not far below. I guess the moss can soak up a fair bit of water before things soak through. I saw that Juneau had the longest recorded stretch of dry weather ever recorded in May (at 14 days). I’m not sure what the longest stretch in Sitka is (perhaps at some point I’ll go through the records to see if I can figure it out), but the last precipitation was on the 9th, so that made 16 days of no precipitation (yesterday rain was recorded as falling, but nothing measurable).

I didn’t end up spending much time outside today, but did make a quick walk around the park this morning. A pair of Blue-winged Teal were still in Indian River down towards the river mouth. With them were 4 American Wigeons. Brant were still along the shore, as well as a Whimbrel, a couple of straggling Black-bellied Plovers, and a couple of Black-legged Kittiwakes in with the gulls.

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American Dipper Nest

The marine stratus burned off by 9am this morning revealing yet another day of sunny warm weather. As has been typical with this recent pattern, there was a good breeze out of the Northwest that kicked up during the day.

I spent some time at Totem Park this morning. At the beach the tide was out and I didn’t go out far, but did see a Marbled Godwit and Brant (on the water) among lingering migrants.

I heard what I think was a Golden-crowned Kinglet singing, though it was adding some flourishes at the end that I don’t recall hearing before. I was able to record it as well as a slurring Towsend’s Warbler variant.

I was a little surprised to see marsh yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) growing along the upper edge of the beach. It’s the first time I’ve noticed it in the park.

The highlight of the day was watching the American Dipper nest under the ridge. It looks like the four young are about ready to fledge, so I would not be surprised to go down there in a couple of days and find them gone.

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More Sun, Brief Note

The marine stratus burned off by mid-morning, though some clouds lingered around the mountain slopes into early afternoon. I don’t think the temperature reached 60, as there was a bit of a sea breeze keeping things cool. The breeze was only mild, and died down early this evening (at least at my place).

My outside time today was mostly limited to playing ultimate and then working in the yard, though I did take a short walk at Pioneer Park to see the shootingstars (Dodecatheon pulchellum) blooming.

I peeked in the Tree Swallow nest box again today, and could see a small white egg. At the time there was not an adult in there as far as I can tell. One of the birds (I think the male, though I’ve not checked carefully) seems to keep watch from the wire while the other (presumably female) is in the nest box. At least that’s the way it seemed to me based on the intermittent attention I paid.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been hearing Swainson’s Thrushes over the past couple of days, but so far never very near me. I heard the distinctive “quee-burr” call today while at Moller Park.

Finally got the last of the plant order planted today. A couple of bare root honeyberry bushes, I put into the berm.

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Persistent Clouds

For the first time in over a week the marine stratus layer never broke up. There was even a chance of showers today. Though I didn’t notice any rain, Rowan told me that it one point it had started to rain a bit. There was a bit of a breeze, but at the house it didn’t seem steady and was pretty much down this evening.

I took advantage of the cloudy day to work on catching up with photos and unfinished blog posts from the past couple of weeks. I didn’t get through everything, but have added a couple of posts so far.

I took a short walk to the store this evening, and as I was approaching Market Center heard a starling imitating the song of a Golden-crowned Sparrow. I was also interested to see the Tree Swallow on the powerline where it was perched yesterday until 10pm. I didn’t keep watch on it this evening, so I’m not sure if/when it left. I did lean over to see if I could see a bird in the nest box this evening. I couldn’t really see well, but did see movement, so I think the female(?) is probably starting to incubate her eggs.

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Yard Beetle

Once again there were clouds this morning, what I saw didn’t seem quite as much like marine stratus as recent days, but after being out late last night, I didn’t feel motivated to get up and going too much before a call I had this morning. By the time I was done with that, the sun was out and there were just a few clouds in the sky (but not of the marine stratus variety). The wind picked up throughout the day, and did not really settle down around the house as the evening wore on. I had a fire out in the yard with Connor and Rowan, but the gusty northwest winds made me a little wary, so kept it small and doused it with water before it had a chance to burn all the way down (which is my preference).

While pulling up some grass to clear out around some planted shrubs, Connor found an interesting beetle which I took some pictures of.

I noticed that a deer ate on some of my strawberries on the Park Street berm. There were also nibbles off some of the shrubs (I’m assuming from the same deer). Hopefully this doesn’t become a regular thing, but at least it’s more of a walk by grazing then a stand and eat the thing to the ground sort of thing (that would get annoying pretty quickly, I think).

The swallows are still hanging around the nest, though I don’t know if the female has laid any eggs yet.

While on my call this morning, I heard the sapsucker back drumming on the chimney cap.

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Tree Swallow Nest

The marine stratus was in this morning, but burned off around noon. It’s kind of crazy how long this weather pattern has persisted, and the forecast continues to have it staying this way into next week. Time will tell. I’m not sure if this is unprecedented, but it certainly is unusual.

My concerns of a couple of days ago regarding the Tree Swallow nest appear to have been unfounded. The swallows have continued to work on the nest, although they spend much time away from it. After Connor and Rowan informed me that the top could be lifted off (it’s hinged with a tie down), I waited until this evening when they were not around and took a picture of the inside (shown above). I think I may have seen them copulating yesterday, I sort of wished I had my recorder, as at least one of them was making a different sort of call than I usually hear. One (presumably female) was perched on a wire, and the other sort of tried hovering above. It seemed like things didn’t always line up right (or perhaps not to the female’s satisfaction), but a couple of times there was what appeared to be a bit of a coupling.

It was a busy day for me (calls and a pre-bioblitz meeting for the fourth grade bioblitz tomorrow) so I didn’t spend much time other than doing a little digging in the yard this afternoon. Tomorrow should be interesting, as I’ll be doing a little bit of small mammal stuff and then lichens and mushrooms for the bioblitz.

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