Walk to UAS

This entry is part 44 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Not much time spent outside today – just walking over to the house and back this morning, then over to UAS in the afternoon. Winds were starting to pick up this afternoon with a few white caps pushing past the bridge into the channel. Temperatures were around freezing, significantly warmer than they had been previously. … Read more

Clearing and Cooling

Today ended up being a bit more full than I planned, as it took longer to get stuff ready for my dad’s arrival in town this evening. I was able to walk over to the bridge after class and catch the sunset, which was nice. Temperatures were cooler today, but the forecast is for even colder tonight and tomorrow. Winds were minor on the ground, though I noticed the wind turbine going at a moderate pace, so there was apparently at least some breeze aloft (strangely, I don’t recall noticing it much when I was upon the bridge). I took additional note of the patterns of snow on the trees covering the mountains and hills around town. I plan to write a post about my observations later this week.

On my walk I saw a Red-breasted Merganser in the Channel. Their were lots of them in the bays south of town during the Christmas Bird Count, but for some reason they’ve been mostly absent along the road system this winter. It was also interesting that I noticed the smell of seaweed and whatever else goes into the mix to create the fairly distinct low tide smell. (Interesting because I hadn’t noticed it yesterday when I was trying to pay more attention.) Several gulls seemed to be taking advantage of the low water levels to try and find food along the shoreline. I didn’t have enough time to watch and see if they were finding any success. I imagine at other times of year, they wouldn’t even bother, but from now until the herring run is probably the most difficult time of the year for them food-wise.

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Lengthening Days

Today was the first day I could go out after class (~5pm) and take a picture in lighting that was closer to day than night. It was definitely getting noticeably dim compared to when I arrived for class a couple hours early, but on the other hand it was not twilight yet, either. With over 4 minutes and 30 seconds of daylight each day, my future walks home from class should all be in increasing brightness.

With temperatures in the mid-40s today, it was easy to forget that we could still face some additional winter weather (which it turns out is called for in the long-term forecast). I showed the kids where I often see the first crocus of the year, and while we did not spot any, I asked them to keep an eye out – it can be a little surprising how they seem to be completely absent, then one day there they are, blooming. It’s actually not too unusual for the first crocuses to have bloomed by now (though in such years, they often get beat back by later snow and/or freezing conditions). There have been scattered days with sunny conditions and temperatures in the upper 30s, but apparently nothing extended enough to promote sufficient crocus development where I’ve been looking.

Sprinkles early this afternoon prompted me to carry my umbrella on the walk to class. In the end, I probably did not need it, but it was only inconvenient a couple of times when the Southeast wind gave a little extra push. By the time we were going over the bridge, it was not even raining, which was nice – as it made it easier to take pictures of a couple of sights that struck my eyes today.

There was a kind of strange patch of fog hanging out at the entrance to Camp Coogan (see photo below). At the time I imagined it being a sort of fog glacier filling up the bay, but it occurred to me later that it may have only been right at the entrance. It would be interesting to know how extensive it was, and also why it formed and persisted there. Perhaps it had something to do with the several float houses that are in that area, as I didn’t notice any other patches of fog elsewhere.

Also, for some reason the view from near the top of the bridge toward the SSE was interesting. There’s a line of rocky islets/island extensions that line up there, with a far backdrop of a forested Baranof Island near Samsing Cove (see photo below).

Nothing of note stuck out to me bird-wise today. It was once again fairly quiet as I was leaving the house (the kids had gone on ahead of me to see some concrete getting poured at the new place). While we were at the new place, Rowan was able to find a Brown Creeper – she has managed to find one several times when we’ve been there. It seems like she finds this somewhat reassuring, as one of the things she was concerned about was how hard it would be find Brown Creepers once we moved away from the hill and its forested spots.

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