Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birds I'm watching: Lake Ralphine, Spring Lake (Jan. 8, 2011)

Having recently decided it prudent to get more exercise, I'm now attempting to take a walk of at least half an hour a day every day. This morning I went birding around Lake Ralphine and then walked the perimeter of Spring Lake. You see, I thought I'd kill two....never mind.

Lake Ralphine had its usual winter mergansers (I counted 36) and about half as many ring-billed gulls (pictured above). There was nothing uncommon, although I did see an orange-crowned warbler, which is unusual at this time of year. Other birds I saw were: Bufflehead, Ruddy duck, Double-crested cormorant, Great egret, Snowy egret, Black-crowned night heron, Coots, Belted kingfisher, a female scaup, and Crows.

At Spring Lake, I saw 37 species--not especially good for Spring Lake, but not bad. Most interesting was another Orange-crowned warbler. I also saw a nice Lincoln's sparrow--first one I've seen in quite a while--and the Osprey. Otherwise, I noted: Canada goose, Mallard, Bufflehead, Common merganser, Ruddy duck, California quail, Pied-billed grebe, Double-crested cormorant, Great egret, Snowy egret, Turkey vulture, Osprey, Sora, Common moorhen, Coots, Ring-billed gull, Mourning dove, Anna's hummingbird, Acorn woodpecker, Nuttall's woodpecker, Northern flicker, Black phoebe, Scrub jay, Crow, Western bluebird, Raven, Oak titmouse, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Robins, Yellow-rumped warblers, Spotted towhee, California towhee, Golden-crowned sparrow, Dark-eye junco, and House finch.

For more information about Spring Lake Park, Lake Ralphine, and bird watching in Sonoma County generally, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Found Art: Metal Patterns, Richmond (January 5, 2010)

While in Richmond during the year-end holidays I found in a parking lot one of those thick iron plates used to cover holes in the ground during road construction. It was scratched, weathered, and worn. It was rusted in places. The whole had an interesting effect. Found art.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Plants I'm Growing--First Blooms: White Japanese Flowering Plum (2011)

Two or three blooms opened today on the white Japanese flowering plum behind the house. This is Prunus mume, a wonderfully fragrant plant when in bloom. It's usually among the first plants to flower in the new year, but this is earlier than usual. The plant first bloomed on January 21 in 2009. In 2010, the plum first bloomed on January 19, for a year of 363 days. A year according to Prunus mume was was considerably shorter this time around, at 350 days.

[Update: The pink-flowered version of this plum bloomed January 19, 2011. I don't have a record for the first blossoms of the tree in earlier years.]

Miscellaneous: First Rain of the New Year

Belatedly I report the rain we had on December 31 and on the first Day of the New Year. Rain on those days added 0.65 inches to our total for the 2010-2011 rainy season, which now stands at 17.5 inches. Some areas of Santa Rosa have had a couple of more inches than we have. The historical average for January 4 is 13.26 inches in Santa Rosa, so we remain well ahead of normal.

Found Art: Frost Patterns (January 4, 2011)

Fascinating patterns today on the tops of cars. Early morning found art. Found art of a few hours' duration.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

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