Wednesday, April 19, 2017

grouse drumming

Even when staying fairly cool, we woke up to -10 C this morning, everyday there is  something and a lot....
of Joy.
Today i walked by Elfin creek and it is flowing.
And i heard a grouse drumming (mating behavior)
yesterday we saw chickadees excavating a nest in a dead tree.
I found the crow berry buds
a few more days and the will be blooming, i realized last summer i had never seen crowberry blossom. They will be quite pretty, but they are extremely tiny, i had a hard time finding the flower buds, here in the  macro photo you can actually see more then with the naked eye

By accident this
ended up on the screen
I don't know what plant it is.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bears and bees

Yesterday walking to my favorite crocus hill in the back here
I stopped in my tracks, because something in the distance looked like a bear, then i figured it is probably  a dark boulder.
....a moving boulder
 The beautiful black bear didn't seem to notice me and i sat down and watched it for a while, while it was clawing in the hillside and obviously eating something (maybe the crocuses i was looking for).
I went back, under the cover of little poplars, while looking over my shoulder occasionally, no he/she didn't follow me.

 a first of the season  for me, the bears are up!
and simultaneously in my yard the first bee was out, one.

recognizing an animal from a long distance, i like that.
scanning the hillside for movement
The other day distinguishing sheep from patches of snow, we found sheep have legs and snow patches don't. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

all sorts of finds

This morning we woke up to find a little dusting of snow on the forest floor. Not in the yard, the gravel having stored more heat during the day, melts or evaporates a snow dusting.

Yesterday  Don and I went for a drive again, as i have always tried to avoid driving anywhere and take my walks starting at the house. I do enjoy his 'need' to go for drives out in the country :)
We ended up at his personal archaeological dig and indeed the   natural erosion taking place had uncovered quite a lot. 
Don and I we like to tally now. Having covered approx. 100 km distance, round trip (walking and driving)
we encountered:

20 gophers
1 hawk ( probably Northern Harrier)
1 ROBIN ( our first this season)
20 sheep
3 juncos
1 mourning cloak
1 deer
and at the very last, one more walk up a hill
2 crocuses (our first of the season)
here is one of them

Sunday, April 16, 2017

butterflies and a moose

all these first... what does it mean?
I tell Don, who is the one wondering, it is like meeting a very good friend you haven't seen since last summer.

This year the first mourning cloak i saw in the yard was April 9 2017
That is still quite early

spring log 1998 - mourning cloak on April 16

I do remember '98 proved to be a wonderful butterfly year . I remember because  i had just bought a butterfly book the summer before. And it seemed my eyes where opened to see butterflies.

When looking at weather graphs, which common sense tells weather is related to the happenings in the Natural world .... 

April 9 for a butterfly, according to my notes is at least a week early to all the other dates i collected for the mourning cloak, who is a hibernator and can come out on any given warm day.

Last year i didn't record it, but i have a photo of mourning cloak here on April 3, 2016
Last year spring came extremely early.

Spring Log 2005
March 6 squirrels active
first week of March -melting snow
                               - 2 owls
April 4, moose in the yard
April 22 - moose on the hill
April 26 - on the highway , a moose, porcupine and black bear.
April 27 2 fox sparrows 
last week of April -mosquitoes
May - snow totally gone
May 2 golden crowned sparrow

This year we saw a moose  on March 20 and yesterday, April 15, 2017 on the Kusawa road!
It does seem we did not see many moose around here for a few years, and this year 2 already

and yesterday Don saw his first mosquito

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

the length of Spring

Here in the Yukon we do enjoy a long spring. For me it starts in February and ends in June. So three months plus. Winter  5 months, fall 1 month really just September, and summer 3 months.
Springs is lovely slow untill it all explodes gloriously somewhere in May.
So yesterday  no new sightings
Wednesday i did check out the townsendia with Mary Withley and the buds had swelled ...very slightly

As i was raising awareness for the grasslands in Southren Alberta ( where the townsendia is probably a more regular occurrence) it has come to my attention that the flowers are blooming in the coulees.( see my fb page)

Entering my old spring logs here and looking out into the forest i had the idea that the last ten years had been wetter then the first 10 years i lived here. I figured with all this talk about climate change there must be some data that reflect that. NOT SO, at least i can't find that kind of data. It means i have to read every individual page of what the weather was like at any given month and then make my own graph.
This is surprising to me...
So on my search i did find that March 1996 was exceptionally warm and average  of -1.1 C
compared to this year -14C
If i want to invest the time and work, i will try to make a graph, just to see what is going on. It is not that i don't believe climate warming. Yet

For me, i am very optimistic about the future. ENJOY NATURE  I believe that smelling the roses ( ehhh for now like yesterday when the sun does get very warm, it is smelling the dry grass, wonderful summer smell)
will eventually overcome all difficulty in the world. Smelling it right now right here. 
haha me running after crocus buds.

20 years ago

                                                                       April 19 2017

spring log 2000
April 13, mud play
April 19 swans flying over
April 20 geese flying over
April 21 a mourning cloak
April 22 crocuses on the hill
April 26 juncos and white crown sparrow in the yard
April 28 crocuses blooming along the driveway
April 28 snowstorm
April 29 Audubon's warbler
May 1  took mulch of the garden, coming up: nettles,rhubarb, iris, bluebells,platain,sweet william, coltsfoot.
May 2 Robin arrived
May 26 and 27 big rain showers
May 29 green leaves  aspen coming out
May 31 bee
June 2 summer has started

Looking at the data of that year on environment canada
March 2000 the average temperature was - 2.7C
and precipitation was a total of 1.8 cm that month

again compared to this year
Oh right Government of Canada doesn't have that data yet, i had to go to another site...forgot which it did say Average -!4 C, which seems fairly accurate as we had a cold March.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

spring log 1996

 in my yard at the Takhini river road Yukon


feb. 20 a flock of red polls
feb. 24, 8 am -40C
march 4 squirrel sighting
march 6 laundry outside ( which might mean it was warmer and clear skies)
march 7  -27 C
april 15. the creek flows
in april  swans and geese flying over and grouse drumming
april 16 dinner outside (which indicates nice weather)
april 18  one robin
april 19 first rain shower of the season
april 26 snowshower

This year the redpolls were in my yard here in Mendenhall, march 11, 2017,(maybe a few days before, i didn't write it down) which was much later then they were sighted in Whitehorse. Note that i did feed the birds for a number of years....not anymore. I might have been feeding the birds in 1996...


The first of the season, spring 2017, starting last night,  little flurries, now dry, 5 minutes ago specks of water, half an hour ago white stuff.
Accumulation ZERO! meaning it evaporates.

And yesterday instead of updating this spring log,  Don and I went out all day. The way we like it these days, we drive slowly, stop frequently, look, walk, pick herbs and have french fries at Otter Falls. We went as far as 14 km on the Aishihik road, left at 11 am and were back at 7 pm.

I always feel i should drive as little as possible (using oil products as little as possible) to know that over 8 hours we ( two people one car). We did drive approx, 130 km, round trip.

What we saw
13 swans
3 eagles
2 dark hawks
2 magpies
3 grey jays
10 gophers ( ground squirrels)
8 sheep
2 chipmunks
5 butterflies, mourning cloaks and probably comma's
dozens of grasshoppers
hundreds of crocus buds
male flowers coming out on one poplar, aspen
flowers on juniper, almost blooming

 poplar, trembling aspen

juniperus  horizontalis