Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Change in the Weather

We have gone from the height of summer to a typical winter day in less than a month. On Sept. 19 we reached a high of 96 degrees F. and by October 9th at 0700 in the morning the temperature was 16 degrees F. The trend from the above graph does not look good. Monday morning I intended to make a long trip to pick up some deck supplies, but when I woke up there was about 8 inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down hard. I canceled my travel plans only to find out later in the day that the snow only extended for a few miles on either side of town. Messed up my whole week. I did get to do a bit of birding though so it wasn't all a loss.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Common Loons gathered on the river and dredge cuts. The dredge cuts are lake-like bodies of water attached to the river formed when they dredged up material from the Missouri River floodplain to provide fill for the dam. I watched a group of about 40 foraging together through one of the dredge cuts. They appeared to be synchronously diving and foraging together and when they surfaced they would call back and forth to each other.

The Sandhill Cranes have been coming over on their way from the far north to points further south. I suspect that many of these birds that I see will spend their winter in southern Colorado or New Mexico.

My favorite blackbird, the Rusty Blackbird, makes its annual appearance this time of year (and again in the spring) and I have been lucky to see a number individuals of this declining species this fall.

An hour or two at the local sewage pond resulted in the Buffleheads getting used to me being there and I was able to get a few photos. The males were more cautious than the females but one decided that it was not that bad to get a bit closer than the others.

There were also four Bonaparte's Gulls feeding near me as well.

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