Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice

Officially spring has ended and summer has started, but the feel the past few days has been more fall-like than either.  We have been in a pattern of low stratus and fog, with visibilities down to 1/8 mile at times.  We ended the spring solstice (June 20st) with freezing temperatures (low of +29F) at night and snow showers heavy enough to leave a trace of fresh snow on the ground.  The day warmed up enough that that the snow showers during the day melted rapidly.

Today has been a little warmer but the east wind has a raw feel to it with all the moisture in the air and the temperature hovering around the freezing mark.  Even with the colder weather the flowers have continued to bloom and the first couple broods of Snow Buntings have fledged.  Some of the longspur nests have hatched but it will be a few more days before those young are  out and begging for food.SNBU_HY1_4462






Young Snow Bunting waiting for a hand out.SBU_HY2_4510

This youngster is taking a nap while waiting for one of the adults to return with a meal.  Notice the short tails on the recently fledged buntings.


The Red-throated Loons and the one pair of  Yellow-billed Loons are setting and we should see them starting to hatch in mid July.  Two Snowy Owls have moved in and are making their living by feeding on Brant in the large colonies in the local area.  



Two pictures of Woolly Lousewort, the first is in the woolly stage and the second shows it just starting to bloom.  It will continue to grow up as it flowers until it is about 6 inches tall.

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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.