Thursday, May 21, 2009

Break-up Weather

After two beautiful warm sunny days we are back to more normal break-up weather, low stratus and fog. The cloud cover made for a cooler day and we had a high of +31F, which slowed the melting process. The warm days in the Brooks Range restarted break-up and the water in the river has been on the rise all day and by 9 PM approaching the 4’ level. Here on our low delta island a 4.5’ water level will start flooding in the lower areas of the island, and 5’ will have the runway under water.

Other than the local white-fronted geese and snow geese, there hasn’t been much movement of water fowl for the past two days. Most took advantage of the break in the WFGO_flgt_3638weather earlier in the week to move on west. The local birds are busy checking out the near islands for nesting sites, and just local movement from there to areas that have melted out for better feeding.

May18-19; We had two sparrows show up early morning on the 18th, a American Tree Sparrow and a white-crowned Sparrow. It was nice to hear them singing for the two days they were around. On the 19th an American Robin showed up, the first in several years. The robin was only here for the day. With the warm weather and melting, the birds weren’t that dependent on the feeders. The Ruddy Turnstones also continued to move through much more rapidly than I thought they would with all the snow that is still on the ground. There was just enough melting and warmth to keep them moving and not hanging around the feeders like they do when cold, snowy weather holds them. Only male Lapland Longspurs have arrived so far and only about 10 are around drifting in and out of the feeder.

As of May 21, we now have three pairs of Tundra swans in the local area and you can hear them calling and watch as a pair sends trespassing swans on their way.

Break-up is the next major item for us to get through. We have been busy getting those things that could be damaged by water moved around and up on higher ground.


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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.