Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snowdrop Day.

2-28-16 SHORT HILLS: We had a serious rain storm with a lot of wind a few days ago, followed by cold days with more wind, but today, it’s spring-like, mild and 60°. The yard has actually dried out a little.

The snowdrops popped out today, although a few had snuck open a day or two back. Viburnums and forsythia have swelling buds even though it’s still February. Will it be an early spring?

Snowdrops open in many spots...

And here...

And there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mud Season

2-24-16 SHORT HILLS: It’s been raining for two days after we had a nice weekend. The buds on the snowdrops are bigger, but they have not opened yet. The yard is soggy and muddy, and there are branches strewn all over. The big clean up will have to wait for the ground to solidify. Some shrubs have broken limbs and will need pruning, but even thinking about it means we’re way earlier than the last few years. The feeders get drained almost daily, but no seasonal migrants have arrived so far.

Mr. Downy Woodpecker....

enjoying lunch.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Snowdrop Time - How Do They Know?

2-19-16 SHORT HILLS: A correction to the last post—several neighbors said that they had low temps down to -22° on the night of 2-13/2-14.

It has warmed since then, but it’s still below freezing here. In two days the sun will be half way back to the Equator, and a month after that, it will be the first day of spring. I’m ready.

This weekend is supposed to be much warmer. If we have a couple of warm days, the snowdrops pictured below will bloom.

Snowdrops are up....

Flower buds....

Will open....

With a few warm days.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Brrry, Brrry Cold

2-14-16 VERMONT: The waxwings and woodpeckers nearly picked the apple trees clean. There is still some fruit left, but neither bird has been back for a few days. The jays, chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches have been working the feeders.

The seasonal cold has been replaced by an arctic chill. Last night was -12° F. That is certainly the coldest night of this winter and probably of the last few winters. At midday it has warmed up to -4° with a north wind giving us a wind-chill temp of -20°F.

The car started reluctantly, and we went to Coburn’s for the NYT. No outdoor frolic for me today.

Goldfinches going from grey to gold for summer and mating.

They seem to be rushing the season, especially today.

Bohemian Waxwing showing the distinctive yellow and white wing markings and rusty coverts under the tail.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Woodpeckers and Waxwings.

2-10-16 VERMONT: We arrived yesterday to find an inch of new snow on top of a couple inches of old crusty stuff. Usually at this point of the winter, we have a foot of snow cover and sometimes as much as three feet. We walked around the pasture after shopping for provisions. Judy used snowshoes, but i just wore boots. The dogs love the snow, they run, wrestle, dig, sniff endlessly.

There was a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in the crab apple trees this morning. Goldfinches are showing some yellow, summer plumage at the feeder. It seems early for the birds to be pairing off, but the groundhog did say there would be an early spring, didn’t he?

A flock of what might be cedar waxwings has also been in the apple trees this morning. They are very flighty, so I haven’t got a decent picture.

Pileated woodpecker, one of a pair this morning, mostly working the crab apple trees.

Both these pix are the female.

One inch of powder yesterday and showers today, but you can see from the three-rail fence that there are only a couple inches in total.

The doge are all busy sniffing for something under the snow.

Bally sporting a thick winter coat.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Déjà Vu, All Over Again.

2-5-16 SHORT HILLS: The snow is back. We got a heavy, wet dose overnight. There was only about three inches, but it stuck to everything creating yet another white, winter wonderland. I shoveled the driveway. The temps have stayed above freezing so it’s already melting.

Heavy, wet snow....

Sticks to anything it lands on...

Creating a white....


One of the house plants surprised us with a February flower. I think this is called 'peace lily'.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Rainy Day.

2-4-16 SHORT HILLS: We had heavy, warm rain yesterday that lasted until evening. This morning it’s still in the fifties and only the plowed or drifted piles remain.

 The intense El Niño persists. It will probably last until next summer. They usually continue for a year, more or less. This one started in March of last year. The strongest since 1950 was in ’97-’98, and it lasted 13 months. The current one may be stronger and longer. The data is at this web site:

Ground fog occurs....

As the rain....

Melts the snow.

Fog and snow gone for now.