Daily Observations

View from Mt. Verstovia

My mom leaves tomorrow, so I took advantage of the last day with someone to watch the kids until Melissa gets back and got out on a hike. I went up Mt. Vestovia and ended up making it up to the top of the main peak. I felt fairly good about it, though I did suffer from some sun burn and not quite enough food and water.

Weather: This morning it was partly cloudy, but by afternoon it was pretty much clear. I could see in the distance a bank of fog, though it remained off shore of Sitka Sound (it did appear to be much closer shore a few miles south of town). Temperatures in town were in the 60s. I’m not sure what they were on the mountain, but it felt quite warm.

Birds: I heard a number of birds on the hike, including Townsend’s Warblers, Winter Wrens, and Varied Thrush in the woods on the way up. From where the trail leaves the trees to the Main Peak, there were Dark-eyed Juncos, Wilson’s Warblers, American Robins, Orange-crowned Warblers, Hermit Thrushes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and crossbills. Eagles were soaring on the updrafts. I watched a pair of juveniles start out a few hundred feet below me and within a minute they were well above me without ever flapping their wings.

I found a robin eggshell below Picnic Rock. I also found a nest that I think was built by a junco right below Picnic Rock. It did not have anything in it, so I am not sure whether it was active or not.

This evening I heard some cheeping and thought it might be a sapsucker nest. I went back to look closer and saw that it was actually a Tree Swallow nest that had been built in a hole made by a sapsucker in a utility pole across from the Fire Station downtown.

Flora: Not too much of note down low. I was a week or two early for most of the plants up high. One exception was Cooley’s Buttercup which seemed to be nearing the end of its blooming period. Alaska Mountain Heather was blooming, though it was difficult to say whether it was near its peak or not. Among the flowers getting started were Narcissus Anemones (with just a few blooms), paintbrush, lupine, shooting stars, and Alpine Azalea.

I was interested to notice a couple of Trailing Black Currant plants growing between the rocks at the summit of the main peak. This is a species I see mostly just above the beach.

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