Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Birds I'm Watching: Spring Lake (December 15, 2010)

I joined a Madrone Audubon Society bird walk around Spring Lake in Santa Rosa today. I saw 45 species, the group about 50. The highlight was a Pacific loon on the water--a very unusual bird for this location. Otherwise, mostly the usual suspects, although Eared grebe is also fairly unusual here and the Goldeneyes were females, making it hard (for me anyway) to tell if any of them was a Barrow's goldeneye (a much less common bird, but one of these has been reported in the past couple of days). Birds sighted were: Canada goose, Mallard, Bufflehead, Common goldeneye, Ruddy duck, Pacific loon, Pied-billed grebe, Horned grebe, Eared grebe, Double-crested cormorant, Great blue heron, Great egret (pictured), Snowy egret, Black-crowned night heron, Green heron, Turkey vulture, Red-shouldered hawk, Sharp-shinned hawk (probable), Virginia rail (heard), Common moorhen, American coot, Ring-billed gull, Anna's hummingbird, Belted kingfisher, Acorn woodpecker, Black phoebe, Steller's jay, Scrub jay, Crow, Raven, Bushtits, Bewick's wren, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Western bluebird, Yellow-rumped warbler, Spotted towhee, California towhee, Song sparrow, White-crowned sparrow, Golden-crowned sparrow, Dark-eyed junco, Slate-colored junco (single bird, probable), House finch, Lesser goldfinch, and American goldfinch.

For more information about bird watching in Sonoma County, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Miscellaneous: Rain (December 14-16)

Drizzle over the past few days and real rain last night added another 0.50 inches to our 2010-2011 precipitation total. We have now had 12.45 inches of rain this season. The historical average for this date (December 16) is about 8.3 inches in Santa Rosa, so we remain solidly ahead of schedule. Average annual rainfall in Santa Rosa has historically been 31.01 inches.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wines I'm Making: Bottling 2010 Sangiovese Rosé, 2009 Zinfandel

Yesterday I racked this year's Sangiovese rosé off its lees and a deposit of tartaric acid crystals (shown in the photo). This wine always forms a crust of crystals over the lees, making it very easy to siphon clear. I also did a final racking and sulfiting of the rest of the 2009 Zinfandel we made from the neighbor's grapes. For reasons that aren't clear to me, the wine from this second (five-gallon) container seems to have better flavor and more body than the 2009 Zin I've already bottled (from a three-gallon container).

Today I'll bottle the Zinfandel. I'll let the rosé sit another week or so and then bottle it before Christmas. Tasting the wine yesterday, it seems pleasant, but it's much less flavorful than the excellent rosé we made last year. I expected that. The weather was so cool for so long in the summer of 2010 that the Sangiovese just didn't ripen fully.
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