Photo by Corey Husic

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Big changes in the weather

After enjoying a reprieve from winter for two days, the weekend temperatures will only be in the 40’s and we have had 30 to 60 mph winds from the northwest today. Wow!  We all new it was too good to be true.  It is way too early for spring despite what the groundhog may have said.

My son Corey and I did a bird walk and count at the Housenick-Johnston Estate property in Bethlehem this morning for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  We saw 26 species.  Of particular interest was seeing the Red-bellied woodpeckers and Great blue herons paired up.  We saw almost 400 snow geese returning to the area before they head even further north. 

On the way down to the estate just over the Kittatinny Ridge near Point Phillip, we saw a skunk wandering around.  This is the first sighting of season although I smelled them on Muhlenberg’s campus last Tuesday (Feb. 15th) and further down the road we saw one that was road kill.  Skunks do not hibernate but do spend a lot of time during the cold months hunkered down in their dens – typically with one male and several females.  They can enter a state of torpor living off the fat that they stored in their bodies. When temperatures rise as they did this week, they will come out and search for some food.  They are omnivores.  Since there aren’t a lot of insects or worms around right now, they might look for small vertebrates, seeds, or human garbage.

After our blustery bird survey, we headed home and were treated to seeing several blue birds flitting around front yards and an adult bald eagle soaring over a corn field near Klecknersville.

At home I noticed that the daffodils by the barn had emerged 1 to 2 inches.  The sun reflecting off the white siding always warms that flower bed.  This is problematic since the daffodils and crocuses tend to emerge very early, often to have their attempts to grow thwarted by the return of cold and snow!  I didn’t see any aconite flowers open yet and, here in Kunkletown, the snowdrops haven’t emerged yet.  The snow is melting enough so that I can see the green leaves of my hellebores.  These will be early bloomers as well, but not yet.

Snow geese in the Martins Creek/Forks Township area on Feb. 18th (photo by David Husic)

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I've seen at least 4 skunk roadkill in the last week. None live, but I did see a raccoon out foraging in the woods that covers my neighborhood. Cute guy. No signs of bloom from anything just now. Outside of Fleetwood on the north side of the ridge.
    I've had a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers around all winter visiting my feeder. And a hairy/downy just recently.