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Tag Archives: winter

We have had a bit of snow here. Enough that people are worried about the weight of it on their roofs. So far, it is mostly light and fluffy and doesn’t weigh too much and our house has a pretty stout roof so we are not worrying about it. Yet.

Sunday was a glorious day to be outside. I headed to the Methow Trails Community Trail and classic skied a few miles. Few others were out on the trail, maybe because the temperature was 9° F? It was incredibly beautiful – blue skies forever, powdery snow groomed to perfection, birds chirping their winter calls, and some white-tailed deer slowly walking the packed pathway. I crossed the suspension bridge and stopped in a (cold) warming hut to adjust my boots. The frosted windows framed a lovely view of the river.

Birds I heard, and saw, included Pileated Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadees, American Dipper (formerly known as a water ouzel) and Common Redpolls.

It was a fine morning.

Snow has been falling since the wee hours of the morning. I think the forecast said it would end by midday but it only slowed for a bit and then kept coming! We have been waiting for the snow for a while and no doubt, will be tired of it before it all goes away. Ski trails are getting groomed and we will soon be out there with all the other snow lovers in the valley.

In addition to new snow, the Fed Ex driver (after getting stuck on our driveway) brought me a new camera! Not many things more fun than a new camera. Well, maybe a puppy but we are not looking for a puppy right now.

So I ventured out in the snow. Finches crowded the feeders and didn’t mind my presence. The dogs were not so sure about staying out too long, especially Luna. They were somewhat cooperative.

Last month, as we longed for 2020 to end, I was inspired to put up a 2020 Christmas tree in the snow. It was a dead, burned pine from the 2014 fire. It had finally fallen over and I dragged it home through the snow and set it up where I could see it from the house. I even put a few decorations on it. It still stands out there. We also had a lovely evergreen inside the house.

Two days ago, as the dogs and I returned from a walk, I noticed something new in my tree. Not any bigger than my fist, it was a Northern Pygmy Owl. We were going to have to walk near it to get in the house and I was surprised that it didn’t leave its perch even though we were barely social distancing. My camera was inside ready for this moment. I have seen a pygmy owl here a couple of times in the last month and had hoped for a good opportunity to photograph it. Many others are seeing them here in the valley. I wonder if there is a bit of a pygmy owl irruption this winter? Last year I did not see any. Yesterday I saw one from the ski trail and couple weeks ago, I saw one while walking in the hills across the valley.

I saw it again late yesterday afternoon as dense fog rolled in. It was perched in a live pine with a fine view of the bird feeders. These tiny owls generally weigh less than 2 1/2 ounces and are ferocious predators, sometimes taking California Quail and Northern Flickers. The Cornell Lab has more info on Northern Pygmy Owls here.

 

Yesterday was just lovely! Blue skies, new snow, sparkles everywhere. New snow makes the world seem fresh again.

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