Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow :-)

Saturday's big nor'easter hit the mid-atlantic states and coastal southern New England with lots of snow. Here at West Campus, we didn't have an unusual snowfall, maybe 6 to 8 inches.

We haven't been out birding yet this week, just observing the birds in our little feeder, see above. We have a regular female Downy Woodpecker, and some occasional Chickadees.

There remains some natural food in the A-21 courtyard, as seen on this ornamental fruiting tree - not sure whether it's a cherry or a crab-apple. We still see Robins in this tree.

If you don't have an outdoor thermometer, and you do have a Rhododendron shrub, you at least know if it's really cold or just sort of cold. The leaves of the Rhododendron curl up very tightly when it's really cold, and open out as the sun warms them. This is, I believe, a moisture-conserving mechanism. The leaves of the plant in the photo above have already begun to warm with the morning sun. Now go back up to the first photo and take a look at the leaves of the shrub still in shadow.

Not much to report in the birding department. Folks have noticed that the crows are gathering at West Campus again. Just at sundown they can be seen flying in our direction, singly, and in small groups. They alight in the bare branches of the tallest deciduous trees along nearby roads, and on our rooftops as well. Eric estimated about 600 yesterday afternoon.

Lynn mentioned that our resident flock of Canada Geese seems to have departed since the snowstorm, though a small flock was winging overhead this morning, perhaps ours?, checking for bare ground. They will find grazing either in coastal areas or wide open wind-swept areas.

Well, we will stock our little feeder tomorrow before we depart for our extended Christmas recess. And maybe I'll keep posting with some non-West Campus birding excursions.

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