Curious about the temperature, I briefly ventured out of bed around 6:30 this morning. The sky was light, but the sun not yet high enough to be shining directly on anything I could see, the thermometer I have here was reading 13.5 F. I am confident it hasn’t been that cold in at least two years, and it may be longer than that.
When I rose for good a couple of hours later, temperatures had warmed a bit, but official highs only reached the low 20s. The sun did not feel as strong today, at times dimmed a bit as a haze of high clouds pushed up from the south.
Although winds were not strong here in the house, there was a enough breeze that I regularly heard the tinkling of a set of chimes I have hanging outside. Later in the day, I noticed much of Crescent Bay and out to Eastern Channel was covered in white caps.
My morning and first half of the afternoon were spent on calls for work, but I did get out for a walk in the latter part of the afternoon to get my observations for today.
With the cold and snowy conditions, I aimed to get my three species without spending a lot of time. With the tide cycle more in my favor today, I figured I could pick up a couple of things on the beach, and thre was a small fungus I saw yesterday that I figured I would document today.
Once at the park I noticed a couple of Canadian Geese out in one of the larger pools. I had seen some earlier this year, but held off on documenting them for the big year project. I was grateful for that choice today. I took a couple of shots of black pine (a seaweed), and then the small fungus.
On my way out of the park, I saw Rowan and asked her to take me to where she and Connor had been seeing a river otter lately. We took one of the trails that cuts across the park, then crossed the bridge (where I was interested to see very little ice in the river) and up through the forest on the east side of the river. Although I saw few birds today, especially compared to yesterday (no sapsuckers, and only a couple of Varied Thrush), there were many tracks in the snow all through the forest where we walked. I also noticed many seeds – I think primarily from conifers (this dry weather tends to result in the cones opening up). I wondered if the Varied Thrushes were eating the seeds.
When we got to the road bridge, Rowan showed me where she had seen the otter, and told me it was there again. I had to stick my head out over the rail to see it as it dipped into the water moving up river.
We walked down below the bridge and peaked into what seems like it might be a den that it’s routinely using (Rowan says she can tell she keeps seeing the same one because of a patch of paler fur on the back of its neck).
We sat and watched the otter slowly work its way up river. It seemed like it must be foraging, though I am not sure what it might have been looking for. A nearby dipper seemed undisturbed by the otter.
Connor reported seeing drops of blood on the snow around the base of some trees in the lower Gavan Trail area. He said there were no associated tracks, and the only other thing seemed to be some bark that had fallen off the tree where there was the most blood. We talked about what it might have been.From his description, my best guess is an injured squirrel moving around through the canopy.