ארכיון יומן של דצמבר 2019

דצמבר 15, 2019

A Year in the Wasatch Hollow Nature Preserve and Open Space (from Winter Solstice 2019 through Fall Equinox 2020

This represents an ongoing journal of observations in the Wasatch Hollow Nature Preserve and Open Space. I begin in the Winter Solstice "season" of 2019 (officially December 21, 2019 at 9:19 pm - Mountain Time) in Salt Lake City, UT. In terms of daylight, this day is 5 hours, 51 minutes shorter than on June Solstice. I start this journal with the weekend preceding the official Solstice (December 14-15, 2019) to set the stage for the turning of the seasons in this nature preserve.

The angle of the sun is now in a low arch over the southern sky. The sun rises at 7:44 am (121 degrees ESE) and sets at 5:00 pm (239 degrees WSW) - December, 15, 2019. Yesterday (Dec. 14) the weather was mostly rain with snow mix, and then snow showers. Today (Dec. 15) - the weather will be: Mostly cloudy skies with a few snow showers this afternoon. High 28F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

Observations: After a light snowfall, I was one of the first that morning to walk into the "open space" section of the nature preserve where no dogs are allowed, but in the past I have seen dogs in the protected area (no dogs allowed) both off and on leash. And there are plenty of dog tracks in the mud and snow to indicate that dog owners continue to defy the city ordinance. All I can do is try to educate about the protected areas, and in my own attempt at humor, I pretend the dog tracks are evidence of Canis lupis and not Canis familiaris in the area - but this is Wasatch Hollow in urban SLC, not Yellowstone National Park.

I see one (1) Fox Squirrel in the Nature Preserve (near the entry gate) in one of the tall Willow Trees along Emigration Creek. I have seen at least 6 different Fox Squirrels in this area (thus on one walk in the Fall - I observed 6 different Fox Squirrels) and as an invasive species (and new to the area) - they have "taken over" the habitat in this geographic area. It is a reward to walk back into the open space, as I can hear Emigration Creek running "high" due to the volume of rain in the past 24 hours, and as I approach the natural spring ("the pond"), it is frozen over and the cattails are brown and pushed over due to the weight of snow and ice. The trail follows the fence line and then takes a sharp right hand turn - to follow the creek. I enter into the open field area which is filled with Chicory plants [Common chicory, Cichorium intybus] and a few Elm trees and Hawthorn trees. This open field area is a favorite site for Finches and Juncos. But today the open field is snow covered and the Chicory plants are bent over with the weight of snow and ice. I do not see or hear any birds in the area (yet) - just the crunch of snow underfoot. I am wearing outer gear with camo design (late fall/early winter) and knee ("ditch") boots. I carry Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10x42 Binoculars and I have a Hawk call. In this area (usually at the top of the tall Elm trees on the perimeter) there are both Cooper's Hawks and a Red-Tailed Hawk to be seen. But in this season, I have only (lately) seen the one Red Tailed Hawk which usually shows up here between 11:00am and 2:00 pm - this is a regular pattern for this Hawk which has a "notch" in it's right wing (a few feathers are missing). It is a magnificent bird, although I like the Cooper's Hawk the best - given their tenacity to hunt in this area - and they have a nest or two in this area.

I drop down the "stairs" (a side path to the creek) to Emigration Creek and the water is running high and strong. Lots of rain (and snow mix) last few days (see images). Then I make my way to the trail and the back portion of the open space (heading north) and come across tracks in the snow - which I identify as squirrel tracks. I deduce these are tracks of the Fox Squirrel - given their abundance in this area and the tracks are noted as 4 front/5 back (toes) and so this squirrel jumped on the fence -then landed down in the snow covered trail and bounded up to the south side of the space (other hill side) - [see images].

Again, really quiet today - not much moving around. I observe one (1) Chickadee in the back loop in scrub oaks. I head back to the trailhead and will return on Sunday Dec. 15, 2019.

Sunday - Dec. 15, 2019: High of 31 degrees today. Entered Nature Preserve and Open Space around 1:30pm. Observed several Fox Squirrels, 7 Northern Flickers, 20 Juncos, several Finches, 4 Mourning Doves, 1 Downy Woodpecker, and 6 Chickadees. Even though it was a colder than yesterday, it appears that the best viewing time in the Solstice season, is between 11:00am and 2:30pm. Many birds were out and active. I have never seen so many Northern Flickers together in this area - on one walk. I observed an American Red Squirrel and a Red-Tail Hawk - very high in the sky - above the open space. One of the best days for observations of wildlife in the Solstice season - thus far.

פורסם ב דצמבר 15, 2019 04:29 אחה"צ על־ידי hawksthree hawksthree | 8 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 22, 2019

Dec. 21 - A Year in the Wasatch Hollow Nature Preserve and Open Space (from Winter Solstice 2019 through Fall Equinox 2020

Today is Winter solstice - December 21 - officially at Dec 21, 9:19 pm
Sunrise at 7:48 am (121 degrees ESE) and Sunset at 5:03 pm (239 degrees) WSW.
The sun will be low in the southern arc of the sky at 23 degrees altitude. The length of the day
is at the shortest length of the season - at 9 hours and 15 minutes and 56 seconds.

A visit today at Wasatch Hollow Nature Preserve and Open Space revealed (in my opinion) one of the best days for bird watching - and count on bird species. Of course I saw the usual suspects:

Northern Flicker - up to 8 different Flickers on the walk - and they were busy going to the ground for food digging into the soft soil (it was 45 degrees at 1:30 pm) and flying back and forth across the open field in Wasatch Hollow Open Space. Often the Flickers would share the same ground with Woodhouse's Scrub Jay - both digging into the soil for food. Fox squirrels were also on the ground digging for food. I saw Dark-Eyed Junco's and two were willing to sit a bit longer for me to take photos - but they usually fly off into the next set of oak trees when they see me walking down the trail. They are very wary and difficult to capture with camera. I saw 4 Downy Woodpeckers on the walk - today they were a bit more difficult to capture with camera. They love the scrub oak trees.

I saw at least 10 different Magpies on the walk. They travel as a "pack" - and they remind me of a bird "gang" - strength in numbers - and are always squawking as they move about in the open space. They do harass Hawks in the area. And speaking of - I did get to see a Western Red-tailed Hawk flying overhead and land in a nearby tall conifer tree. This made my day - and again - the arrival of the Red-Tailed Hawk is very predictable...usually between noon and 2:00 pm almost everyday - in this open space.

I think the "warmer" weather brought out the bird species today. A great day to observe many species on one walk in and then back out.

פורסם ב דצמבר 22, 2019 03:19 אחה"צ על־ידי hawksthree hawksthree | 12 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 29, 2019

Dec. 28th and Dec. 29th - Wasatch Hollow Nature Preserve and Open Space Journal (2019-2020)

The weekend of Dec. 28 and 29th signaled a slight turn in length of day; that is after the Solstice (Winter), there is now about two minutes of more daylight (total). The sun rises at 7:51 am (at 121 degrees ESE) and at noon the sun is at 26 degrees (altitude) [still low in the southern sky] and the sun will set at 5:08 pm (at 239 degrees WSW).

Saturday (28th) – the temperature was cold at about 26 degrees in Wasatch Hollow, but the sun was shining (a few clouds) and so the east and south-east facing slopes (toward the sun) but on the west side of the “gully” (the “Hollow”) were without much snow/ice. However, the trail (mainly in the shade side) was icy and a bit slick. Basically, if you were waking in the sun, it was pleasant walk, but in the shade or closer to Emigration Creek, it seemed much colder.

Walking into the Open Space (near the natural spring – the “pond’), wildlife activity was very quiet. I saw a few Chickadees in “Hawk Alley” ( a patch of Oak trees where the trail splits to the west of the spring) and observed one (1) Northern Flicker. {see images} Later when I posted the photo of the Flicker, someone thought the bird was a Sapsucker (Genus level), but I have never observed a Sapsucker in this area, and was sure it was a Flicker, which was verified by another person in the iNaturalist community. I observed one Fox Squirrel running through the trees branches and finally up a utility pole and then crossing on one of the power lines.

Heading into the open field area, I observed a few Juncos, and a few more Flickers in the trees on the west side of the Hollow Open Space. Continuing on into the “Loop” area, I observed more Chickadees and was able to get a few decent photos of the birds in the scrub oak trees. I did not see any Hawks or Downy Woodpeckers on the walks this weekend. I saw a few “Wolf” tracks (my sarcastic reading of Dog tracks in the Open Space area (NO DOGS ALLOWED), but it appears to me, there are less people with dogs in the protected area. There is a new gate on the east side – at the bridge – and the signage is better.

I think the colder temps over this weekend was a factor in reducing the amount if wildlife activity; that is, I observed a few species, but compared to the Solstice walk (when the temps were warmer), this was a quiet time in the Open Space. But the quiet was a positive factor as the walk was calming and it was good to see the green space in the “dead” of winter – and know that in few months – this area would be “springing” to life.

פורסם ב דצמבר 29, 2019 02:14 אחה"צ על־ידי hawksthree hawksthree | 3 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה