I did not get out too much today, but did walk around campus a little bit to see what I could see.
Weather: It’s still clear and cold, but not quite as cold as it has been. The forecast is for increasing clouds and temperatures tomorrow with highs reaching the 40s by the end of the week. It’s going to get slippery in a hurry if that happens.
Birds: I heard about a dead bird on Westwood Trail, so I went up to check it out. The remains consisted entirely of feathers, but there were a lot of feathers. I think it was the pheasant seen last week, but I do not know what might have killed it.
On my way back, I saw a dipper flying and splashing in the flume near just after passes under the street.
There was a Brown Creeper pretty active on the trees near the flume later this afternoon. I got within a couple of feet of it. It seemed to be staying low on the tree trunks it was foraging on. Usually they go up high and I loose sight of them. Another difference in behavior I noticed was that it kept repeatedly using the same tree; moving down on the trunk and then working back up again.
While watching the creeper, I heard a Red-breasted Sapsucker and caught a glimpse of it flying over.
While walking up along the flume, I noticed what I am pretty sure is a bird’s nest fairly high up in a Mt. Ash tree that is barely surviving in the middle of the stand of evergreens near the firepit.
Other Notes: There was a deer track in the snow near the flume (on the trail that runs along the edge up from the bridge by Yaw).
I saw at least a couple of coho salmon in the flume. They were looking pretty dark, but it’s interesting to see that they are still in there this late. I had never really noticed that before.
It’s interesting to see how much less the water in the river has frozen this fall as compared to last March. The air temperatures have not been quite as cold as the 6 day stretch in March, but highs have still been well below freezing. Whereas in March, the surface of the flume water was frozen both above and below the falls. Where the stream tumbles down a brief cascade shortly before it meets up with Indian River, there were sizable ice formations that had formed. During this cold snap, there is just a little bit of ice at the edge of the flume, but very little ice on the surface otherwise. Presumably this is because the river water is still relatively warm from summer. I would not have guessed that it would make that much difference. I may check to see if someone has long term stream temperature data to see how it changes over the year.