Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Snow Going Fast

What a difference a few days of warmth makes. Three days of 24 hour sunshine has taken us from 70% snow cover to less than 10%. Now just a few big drifts around the buildings and ice on the big lake and some smaller ponds are all that is left with the look of winter.

Some of the grass is getting a touch of green at the base of the blades, while many of the willow buds are starting to bloom. This will provide the first pollen for our big Arctic Bees. The only flower starting to grow that I have noticed is one of our species of Sweet Coltsfoot, green shoots just breaking out above the ground.

More shorebirds have arrived and now the trilling of the Semipalmated Sandpiper on territory can be heard over most of the island. Besides the Semipals, one can hear the Booing call of Pectoral’s and Long-billed Dowitchers displaying. So far, plovers have been in short supply, as I have seen only 2 Golden Plovers, and 1 each of Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers.

Our pair of Yellow-billed Loons are in the big lake by the Lodge now and have been checking out nesting locations. The lake is still high from spring flooding, so I’m hoping they won’t select a spot that will have them stranded in a small pond. Several pair of Red-throated Loons are now on some of the small ponds around the larger lake. No Pacific Loons have been seen or heard yet.

Yesterday I was able to get a few pictures of a pair of King Eiders not far from home. While I was filming the eiders a Arctic Tern flew over to see what I was doing and I snapped its picture while it hovered over head.

KIEI6-2_1808 KIEI_F6-1_1838 ARTE2_1789

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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.