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Tag Archives: winter

The dogs have been enjoying the weather recently. Nights are very cold and in the morning the snow is firm enough to support their weight. Mine too. Daytime temperatures are well into the forties so all in all, it’s a lovely time to be out and about!

The weather is notorious for being gray this time of year and sometimes, there’s just not enough snow for it to really seem like winter despite the cold. And once the highway closes for the winter, it is hard to get above the thick layer of clouds into the sunshine. These photos are from earlier in the month at Washington Pass before the highway closed. We were not alone. Lots of folks were skiing and walking and playing with dogs and everyone was happy, especially the dogs. Someone asked if my dogs were puppies. They sure act like puppies sometimes.

American Kestrels are the smallest falcons in North America. This tiny raptor has a wingspan of 22 inches and weighs 4.1 ounces. It eats small mammals, insects and today it ate a finch from our feeder. This bird is a male because of the blue on its wings. It was minus four this morning before the sun came out. Normally this bird has a sleek appearance but it fluffed its feathers in order to keep warm.

The holiday season was a blur of events and meals and non-stop entertainment. A week into the new year and I am beginning to feel ‘normal’ again. So far the snow in the valley is less than normal but the groomed trails are in good shape for skate skiing and classic skiing. The Loup even opened up for New Years. Here’s hoping for more snow and winter fun in the Methow.

Last Sunday we had a good snowfall and I was thankful I’d filled the bird feeders the afternoon before. The finches and juncos appreciated it too. And then, I noticed three Red-winged Blackbirds at the feeders. Oh dear. There have been winters when the blackbirds stayed and didn’t migrate to warmer climates and each day they would empty the feeders in no time. I like blackbirds, especially when they are singing over a cattail marsh in the spring and early summer. But if they are going to be coming to the feeder all winter, I might need to start a fund raiser to buy seeds for them.

The three birds soon left and I figured they would be back with their friends. That’s just the way they are. Well. They had a lot of friends. Soon, there were waves and waves of Red-winged Blackbirds coming up from the valley floor. I estimated at least 250 birds. It was like that old Alfred Hitchcock movie. Every tree, snag and bush in sight of the feeders was covered with them. Some of them got to the feeders but most just stood around or flew around and watched. After a while they all left. Later in the afternoon the big group returned. Since then I’ve only seen smaller groups of blackbirds here. What a relief. Maybe they will just come on snowfall days? I would not have even guessed there were that many Red-winged Blackbirds in this valley at this time of year.

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