02 December 2014

Cold Wind

The Cold Wind has arrived.  Not only does it feel different, it sounds different - a soft whoosh through the evergreens, with no leaves to add their rustling.  The sun no longer hits much of the home or yard, but sunlight on the trees and neighborhood is still nice!

We had a visit this morning from two squirrels and three western Meadowlarks.  Like our noisier visit from the Stellar's Jays last month, the birds flipped over leaves in the yard to see what was hiding from the cold air.  Very funny to watch, almost like a yard fight among children but one leaf at a time.  Sad to see the Meadow-Lark here in a way, Oregon's state bird is very rare in the north Willamette Valley as their habitat is gone.  Nearly all I've seen in the past several years have been in Washington, where the Gold-Finch takes the state title.  I've seen them too, so that's comforting - though I wonder if Seattle/Tacoma residents see many of them.  Perhaps they can tolerate more than the Meadow-Lark though, as meadows or fields are required for Oregon's bird to thrive.

I thought I'd see fewer crows in this rural area as they seem to really like the Portland area.  However we have a murder or two up here, yelling at each other - and at the ravens who seem to reside with the neighbors to our northwest.  I often hear that deeper, raspier shout from their trees and occasionally see them cruising the area.  Higher up we've seen many vultures, though they seem to have chosen another flight pattern now, during the Cold-Wind season.

We ended November with just under 6" in the rain bucket.  As noted earlier that began working just after mid-month, so it's a nice high number that does not fully represent our November total.  Experts say a rather wimpy El Niño is upon us, so wet and dry spells may be common this year.  Our shaded driveway has only been unfrosted when it's been raining, so that is part of the story so far.

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