North Sister Runoff

It was unseasonably warm today (even for this warm winter), with official temperatures up in the lower 50s. As I was nearing UAS this afternoon on my way to class, I noticed white streaks going down the face of the North Sister. At first I thought it odd that there was snow still down that far, but then I realized it was actually waterfalls formed from the melting snow. What little snow had accumulated at higher elevations during the prior cooler spell of precipitation was rapidly running downhill. While there’s still time for snow to pile up in the mountains, it’s looking increasingly like the higher elevations will be open early this year.

I stopped at the airport for a little while today and saw three American Tree Sparrows along with the juncos and a Fox Sparrow.

On today’s sit I tried to watch for sentinel behavior (continuing from yesterday) as well as trying to pay attention to any zones of activity and/or silence. Unlike the past couple of days, there were several juncos in the yard while I was sitting, but they pretty much kept to the fence line and the patch of salmonberries that way. When I looked out the door later, I saw they were throughout the yard, even up to the porch where I had been sitting, so I think that my time out there was not long enough (or I was not still enough) for them to become entirely comfortable with me. While listening, I did notice some zones of activity that I hadn’t previously (hard to say whether I just missed them, or they weren’t active when I was out). I heard junco activity to the east – it was on the other side of the house, perhaps where Connor has hung a feeder. I think I also heard some Pine Siskins and perhaps other birds in the west. They sounded like they were at least a couple of houses down, and when I looked that way, I never saw anything.

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