Arb Sightings 2/11/10

Posted on February 11th, 2010 by

Whatever snow that might have sublimated during the past few weeks has since been replenished after the heavy snowfall we received earlier in the week, and thus we once again have a fresh-looking supply of several feet of snow. Unlike states further east that are currently dealing with a “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon,” Minnesota seems to be exhibiting one of its more classic winters in terms of snowfall, which we really haven’t experienced in the last five years or so. The forecast shows no more heavy snowstorms for the next week, however, and with high temperatures in the mid- to upper 20’s this means that we’ll get to enjoy more sunny days like yesterday.

Mid-afternoon looking southwest from the Interpretive Center, 2/10/10.

In the midst of Monday’s massive snowdrifts and severely decreased visibility, I was able to make two interesting observations from the Interpretive Center. The first was that the gray squirrels which frequent the bird feeders behind the Interpretive Center were literally tunneling through the fresh, powdery snow. The squirrels’ heads would pop up and out of the snow just as a thirteen-lined ground squirrel’s head pops out of the ground during the warmer months; while this sort of foraging behavior isn’t exactly the norm for gray squirrels, it appeared they were rather adept at it. The second observation was of a pair of Trumpeter Swans flying low over the Interpretive Center, apparently heading for the Minnesota River. It was only a fluke that I saw these birds in the first place, as the observation lasted only a few seconds, but sure enough they appeared as two ghosts out of the muted sky. While these large birds breed west of St. Peter in the vicinity of Swan Lake and occasionally overwinter along the river in Mankato, this is the first time they have been seen at Gustavus.

Here are some other highlights from this week in the Arb:

– Adult Bald Eagle flying low over the arboretum near Borgeson Cabin 2/10

– Female Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting behind Interpretive Center 2/10

– Three Gray Squirrels chasing each other in a direct line behind Interpretive Center 2/9

– Fresh mouse tracks in snow outside Interpretive Center’s front door 2/8


One Comment

  1. Becca says:

    Beautiful contrail capture, Bob : ) Keep up the good work!