Snow Day

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)
An unseasonal cold snap brought temperatures in the upper teens and twenties and two inches of snow to South Fidalgo Island.  This is the result of our unique version of a nor'easter.  We were fortunate as some areas got as much as ten inches of snow.  With all its hills, Seattle was virtually shut down for a day.  Notice how the rhododendron has reacted to the cold temperatures.  The shriveled and drooping leaves will reconstitute as the weather warms again.

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)
The birds don't get a snow day and an interesting mix of visitors came into the BirdCam's view yesterday.  The camera caught a Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Spotted Towhee and Northern Flicker, small, medium and large.  In the midst of the snow storm on Tuesday, I had twenty to thirty Towhees in the basement patio feeder area.  They dart around constantly making them hard to count accurately.  The Chickadees are fearless.  While checking the camera during the snow fall, one flew to the feeder and gave me a stern talking-to.

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Flickers are more wary and will never come around if I am in view.  This appears to be the same Flicker, with her uncharacteristic markings, who has visited before.  While exhibiting yellow-shafted wing and tail feathers and tan face, she lacks the red nape mark of the eastern yellow-shafted race.  While the yellows do visit here in the winter and there are hybrid intergrades, my best guess is she is a juvenile red-shafted with immature coloration. 

Notice how a little sunlight has already begun to perk up the rhododendron.  The variety is 'Kristin,' an R. yakushimanum cross.  As I write this on Thanksgiving morning, the snow is falling lightly again.  Warmer air off the ocean is already moving in and by mid-day, it is supposed to turn to very welcome rain.  The birds and I will enjoy getting back to normal.


  1. Well I see you have gone wild on wildlife. Just can't get enough with that new camera of yours. I woke up last night and there was a deer right at my window eating my plants still exposed near the house. Their tracks are all over the place now. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feeling much better now. Cow is still here have tried to move her down the road a few times but she just keep veering off into some Willows then comes back. At least the weather has warmed and she has had grasses to eat just beyond our field left from summer growth. It's the calves we still have in our field that are keeping her here. Always something. Life goes on though and so will I.


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