Arb Sightings 1/6/11

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by

A few snowstorms, some bitter cold, a warm-up with rain, and more snow–that pretty much describes what happened over the past couple of weeks here in southern Minnesota. The warm-up lasted a couple days, and as temperatures approached 40 degrees Fahrenheit a decent amount of snow did melt (and hopefully found its way into the Minnesota River). This week however we’ve received a dusting here and there, and if we haven’t regained what was lost over the holiday break we’re probably pretty close. Temperatures are expected to remain cold in the single digits and teens through next week, with temperatures even dipping below zero (without windchill) on Saturday. We might see more flurries as well, but there doesn’t appear to be any good chances of a snowstorm in the immediate future (yet).

As long as the Minnesota River stays mostly open, the probable spring flooding everyone is dreading might not be so bad. Some of the snow at least should continue to leach into the watershed and eventually to the river, thereby lessening the overall amount of water going through at one period of time. Many factors contribute to flooding however, and thus it is far too early to accurately predict (but not too early to prepare). I will ascertain one thing though: if January and February are anything like December in terms of snowfall and the river does freeze over most of its entirety…well, I’m sure you get the picture.

Here are some highlights from this week in the Arb:

– Red Squirrel making more frequent raids on peanut feeder behind Interpretive Center (mostly in mornings and late afternoons) 1/3-6

Red Squirrel raiding peanut feeder behind Interpretive Center, 1/3/10.

– Northern Shrike perched atop deciduous trees adjacent to Ring Road north of Borgeson Cabin 1/5 (only the second observation ever on campus of this uncommon winter visitor)

– Two overwintering American Robins flying south of Interpretive Center 1/4

– Black-capped Chickadee singing two-note whistled “spring’s-here!” song from conifers south of Interpretive Center parking lot 1/4 (this and other species will practice their spring songs on cold, sunny winter days)


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