January went past quietly, drier than usual and so stable that we really didn’t notice the weather all that much. Trumpeter Swans continued to pass overhead regularly, an unusual and enjoyable pattern this winter.
The natural world isn’t all asleep in winter. Earthworms are still present in the soil, just not right at the surface. As we were putting fresh wood chips down around our fruit trees, we spotted a few daffodil leaves poking up through the mulch.
Winter is a good time to practice tree identification based on the bark. How many of the eight trees above can you identify?Ice formations along the stream.
Lots of Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans were certainly the highlight of a quiet month. Pine Siskins showed up at our feeders, providing an interesting contrast to their American Goldfinch cousins. We’ve had virtually no sparrow sightings this winter at the farm, though we’re not the only ones to feel that sparrow numbers are low. The Christmas Bird Count in the Columbia region in December yielded low sparrow counts, and members of the MOBIRDS listserv have also commented on unusually low sparrow sightings in some parts of the state. Juncos–which are technically sparrows–are the only exception, and they’ve been common as usual.
We’re experimenting with new formats for the bird listings, as we’re into our 5th year of collecting monthly data and the table was getting unwieldy. In the version below, the “2011-2015” column displays an “x” for each year we recorded that bird in January, while the “2015” shows just the latest observations. Note that the x-es are a total, not a linear display, such that “xxx” doesn’t necessarily mean 2011, 2012, 2013, just that we’ve recorded that bird in 3 of the past 5 Januaries. We realize that this obscures some information, but it’s all we had time to put together for now. We’re still discussing the best way to present birding data long-term.
|2011-2015 total years observed||2015 observed|
|Great Blue Heron||x|
|Great Horned Owl||xxx||x|