Monday, March 6, 2017

Snow on Daffodils

 A neighbor who has lived here over sixty years says it always snows one day when the daffodils bloom. And it usually does. Including this year. I took a photo of our snow-covered daffodils on March 5.

And the pretty sunrise in the snow that day...

And, from under cover of my EZ Go, as I hauled manure from the horse barn to the manure pile, I took a photo of the lovely big flakes of falling snow.

And one of the many robins in the snow...

What I did not do was pay attention to where I was going with my load of horse manure. And so I got stuck. It was muddy below the snow.

The feed sack I had with me placed in front of the buried tire did not help.

Nor could I dig myself out. Johnny had to pull me out with the tractor.

That was during Sunday early-morning chores. After breakfast, I returned to the barn, as usual, to let the horses out and milk goats and clean the goat barn. It snowed even harder. I still had my camera with me so I took more photos... from under the shelter of the goat barn entryway.

Mallards in the snow...

I could not clean the second buck pen that afternoon because I would just get stuck. I cleaned the first one on Friday after several days of relatively dry weather. At least, the ground was fairly firm. My back wore out after that pen plus it started to rain so I thought I could do the second pen the next day... or the next depending on weather... That pen is still waiting and may have to wait quite awhile since we are still having rain/snow/sleet with no sign of a break. And the ground is still muddy.

But it was not too bad Sunday afternoon so we decided to drive up Agency Creek Rd. beyond our farm and survey American Dippers... and enjoy the forest and stream. (And rest my back.) So we did. And lucked out on the weather most of the time.

A Dipper cooperated for a photo close to the road in one of the traditional Dipper nesting areas.

Below it shows off its white eyelid.

Well, really it was just blinking. Most birds have dark eyelids so you never notice when they blink. The Dipper has a white eyelid, why I don't know. Neither, apparently, does anyone else. The top bird authority Sibley guide says: "It’s a basic question about a relatively common and easy-to-see bird, and it could be answered by just observing and getting to know some dippers. And that seems like it would be a pretty nice way to spend a few months."

I have spent many happy hours watching dippers and I'm no closer to knowing the why of the white eyelid. Do they blink as often when no one is watching them? Is it a signal to their mate that someone is in the area? Well, since I don't see them when I'm not there, that's a tough question to answer.

Besides Dippers, we saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Common Mergansers. Below are the Hoodies. The Commons floated/swam downstream too fast for photos.

We saw 7 Dippers on our 6 mile survey and heard one that we did not see. But we missed seeing Dippers at a couple of the reliable nest areas. We'll go back again another Sunday afternoon when we don't want to work and look for them.

One site must be hiked into and that one has not had Dippers nesting in their former location, near the waterfall on this rock wall, for several years. I don't know where they've gone. This is the farthest downstream we have found Dipper nests and the water level is very high now, with few rocky, turbulent areas uncovered for Dippers to dive and feed in. So maybe they gave up on this site and have relocated elsewhere.  

Our hike back out was getting very snowy. It was a good time to quit and head homeward for supper.

Supper on Sunday nights is always whatever we feel like... we don't worry about a balanced meal. Often it is just popcorn and baked apples. Last night I felt like jowl bacon (from our pigs of last year) and sweet potatoes... and popcorn. It was good! Then we watched a couple episodes of the Big Bang Theory from Season 5 (we're a bit behind). It was a nice ending to a fun afternoon.

The next morning, the ground was white with snow again. This year it is snowing on the daffodils more than just once. In fact, so far it has done so, off and on, for  a week.

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