Snow and Clearing Skies

The clouds broke up over town this morning after snow overnight. By around noon, it was again completely overcast and the snow started shortly thereafter. Coincidentally, the kids and I headed over to SJ since someone had suggested frisbee for those college students back in town for the holiday. A couple of other people showed up, and Connor and I played catch with them for a while (Rowan joined at the end, but spent most of the time helping other kids with a snowman and doing a little sledding). I was impressed that Connor was able to keep his hands warm without gloves on – he told me they only got cold when he took a tumble as we were walking back toward home, and I had given him a long throw to chase after. It snowed pretty hard the whole time we were there, with a decent breeze blowing in from the west or northwest (it was a little hard to tell, as it didn’t seem very steady).

Around 2pm or a little after, the clouds started to break up again, and we were treated to some nice light as the sun was going down.

Read moreSnow and Clearing Skies

Snow and Birds

Snow overnight with some scattered snow showers today left the ground covered in an inch or so of snow. Between the snow showers, the sun was actually shining for a good chunk of the day. Was nice to have another day of brightness as we approach the new year.

I did a little birding this afternoon, with the main goal to try and photograph a Lincoln’s Sparrow that has been visiting a feeder since at least late fall.

On a brief stop at Swan Lake, I was interested to see how aggressive the Trumpeter Swan was being with a couple of Mallards that were getting between it and the corn someone was tossing out. The swan would grab the mallard (male in each case) by the neck and swing it around a few times. The ducks seemed to get the idea and leave a little space around the swan. I thought it was funny to see the first year Glaucous Gull fly in and slip into the dense crowd of Mallards to try a bit of the corn. I didn’t get the impression it was much to the gull’s liking, as it didn’t make much effort to go after more.

Across the lake 24 or more Ring-necked Ducks were all gathered up in the open water near the little cove on the west side. This is the best time to observe the ducks, as when the lake is open, they tend to be scattered around and most of them are distant and hard to see very well. When the lake ices over completely they leave – and are rarely observed elsewhere. In the same opening was an American Wigeon – a bird I’ve not noticed lately.

I did get to see the Lincoln’s Sparrow. Wasn’t a great time for getting pictures of it, but did get one shot that was at least recognizable. Might try for a better photo on a future occasion when I have more time and the direction of the sun is a bit better.

Read moreSnow and Birds

November Snow

Sitka broke records this month for measured November snowfall. However the record comes with a bit of an asterisk, since there are significant gaps in the records for snow amounts. Unlike precipitation, the depth of snow is not measured by the main weather station, apparently. In any case, it was a lot of snow for any month around here, but it did make for some nice views.

Read moreNovember Snow