Arb Sightings 1/14/11

Posted on January 14th, 2011 by

Mother Nature is playing the proverbial broken record for us in southern Minnesota: another week, another snowstorm. This one occurred early in the week on Monday and into Tuesday morning, dropping six inches of snow in St. Peter. A light dusting occurred here yesterday morning as another snowstorm went mostly north of our area (but dropped a couple inches in the Twin Cities), and this afternoon more flakes are precipitating outside my office window as I type this. The coming weekend looks decent, but we have another chance of a snow shower on Monday before we’re expected to experience colder temperatures (with highs in the single digits and lows below zero) for much of next week.

Speaking of bitter cold, we really have been pretty fortunate so far this winter in terms of outside temperature. We’ve had a few days here and there in the subzero range, but highs have been relatively constant in the teens and 20’s. Winds have been uncharacteristically calm as well (for Gustavus, at least), which has made for many enjoyable days spent outside. If you’re in the area and haven’t done so already, consider skiing the groomed arboretum trails or put on your snowshoes and hike throughout the arb’s varied habitats. Aside from fellow human trail goers, you might catch a glimpse of a buck White-tailed Deer trudging through the feet of snow. Or, if you’re really lucky, perhaps a resident Great Horned Owl will be perched high in a tree against the setting sun, hooting deeply and signaling the beginning of its early courtship ritual. We’re going to be stuck in this snowy white landscape for a while yet, so we might as well enjoy some of it while we can!

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

– 16 House Finches at bird feeders behind Interpretive Center 1/14

– Mature cones of Norway Spruce present on trees surrounding Interpretive Center 1/14

Norway Spruce cones near shelter (start of ski trails) on west side of Interpretive Center, 1/14/11.

– Both Red and Gray Squirrels raiding peanut feeder behind Interpretive Center 1/13

– Eastern Cottontail darting for cover in Colorado blue spruce (its probable winter residence) in front of Interpretive Center 1/11


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