An Assortment of Observations

My brother departed after a week-long visit yesterday. During the time he was here, my time was filled with newly restarted school routines and spending time with him. As a result I was not able to keep up with posting entries here. I have several photojournal posts to do which will (hopefully soon) be added (though backdated). In addition, there’s the ever increasing list of posts about various observations and/or mysteries that I find interesting or substantive enough to highlight by devoting a separate post to them. In any case, my intention is to get back into routine of daily posting going forward.

Wednesdays are looking like one of the less busy days of my week this Fall, with only the Tlingit class in the afternoon and ultimate (frisbee) in the evening as part of my regular schedule. This morning I went on a walk around Totem Park. On the way I noticed river bed just below the road bridge seemed distinctly different to me. I’ll try to find some reasonable photos from the past for comparison and write up a separate post on that later.

At the end of the walk, I spent some time with Connor and Rowan at Sage Beach. There was an interesting looking cloud in the distance above downtown. It seemed rather sculpted. We also had a chance to watch some Golden-crowned Kinglets foraging in the shore-side conifers. Several (4-5+) Song Sparrows were in the area, with some engaging in territorial behavior (or so it seemed to me). My current best guess is that things are still shaking out between the birds for winter territories. I also wonder if the day length has something to do with it, as the current day length is similar to when they are setting nesting territories in the spring. Perhaps there is a spike of hormones or something.

I heard a report of 50 or more small toads (probably just emerged after transforming out of tadpole stage) seen yesterday along Thimbleberry Lake trail. It sounded like they were in the same area Rowan had previously found toads. Rowan and Connor were interested in looking for them (especially Rowan), so we took a trip out there this afternoon. While Rowan and Connor were looking, I checked out some of the erosion features along the trail. It appeared that an impressive amount of water had flowed along some sections approaching the large hill up to the saddle. In some places it looked like the ditch alongside had mostly held the water, though there was significant erosion. It was interesting to see some of the different layers that had been eroded through. My impression was a lot of the underlying surface was either placed there when the trail was built, or was glacial till. I’m leaning towards the till. In another section where it was clear the water had simply flowed down the whole width of the trail, I tried to imagine what it had been like last Saturday when the water was moving all the rock and pushing down the vegetation as it moved down the slopes towards Thimbleberry Lake.

Rowan found 3 or 4 small toads and Connor another after a half an hour or so of looking. After I had taken photos (but the kids were still taking their’s), I waited along the trail and ended up speaking briefly with someone who was coming up with another person and a small child. One was carrying a bucket, and the other (who was carrying the child) asked me if I had seen any toads on the trail. I mentioned that while we hadn’t seen any on the trail, my kids had found some nearby. I had the impression he had heard about the toads being seen and they were looking to see some, so I suggested they check out where my kids were. He said it had been years since he had seen toads around, and he was glad they were starting to come back.

On a less local note, there was a report of a likely Black-headed Gull in Juneau today. They also had one back in May 2011.

Acting on a suggestion my brother made in one of our conversations while he was visiting, today the kids and I upgraded our routine of pre-meal gratitude by also included one (specific) thing we are grateful for about each of the others. Connor and Rowan both had a little trouble being specific, and were a little prone to the back-handed compliment sort of things (“I’m grateful [my sibling] isn’t always obnoxious”). Rowan especially had a bit of a hard time coming up with something to be thankful regarding Connor (which reminds me that she had a harder time when we first started pre-meal gratitude a year or two ago). I suspect with a little practice it will get easier.

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