It’s been cold. Cold. COLD. Tree limbs rattling in the wind sounded like popping fireworks the cold has been so cold. Beyond frigid, we entered into intense arctic cold. It felt algid outside for over a week thanks to the winds which pushed daytime temps to around -20’F & nightime temps a further 10-15 degrees south. Just too cold.
Last week consisted of an early out, no school, no school, late start, & ended with a late start. Mostly due to the cold, but Tuesday’s no school resulted from over 6 inches of snowfall the night prior. Then the wind blew most of it away. The woodlands are well-supplied with snow now. Open spaces are fairly barren & there’s been zero melting.
The kids & I accomplished very little last week. We watched birds from inside the house using our scope & binoculars several hours total each day. Birding kept us sane! We had a new species visit our feeder–Eurasian Tree Sparrows, invasive birds released into the Saint Louis area prior to the 1900s. The species hasn’t spread too far beyond its release area, but apparently there are established populations in Iowa. Coralee & I were a bit giddy initially to spot a new species, but the feeling wore off once we realized it was here to stay. Not the nicest birds. The Hairy Woodpeckers & Blue Jays take little of the Eurasians’ attitude, but it bullies the chickadees, native sparrows, nuthatches, & Downy Woodpeckers at our feeders. An unwanted guest for certain.
On Sunday the entire family ventured outside in the late afternoon & explored the woods on our southern boundary. We’ve renamed the area ‘Pileated Woods’ as the older kids discovered Pileated Woodpecker holes along the creek! I have only ever sighted a Pileated once on our property, about five years ago. The holes look fresh & Pileated Woodpecker pairs stay together in the same location year-round, so Coralee is devising a plan to locate the individual(s) soon. Exciting!
June enjoyed climbing on her hands & knees up & down the bank along the creek. Everyone, including one of the dogs, went sledding right before dark down the front hills. Brian & I skied (with June on my back) twice this weekend across the alfalfa field–the trail is mostly grass now. Window birding has been the mainstay around here as of late.
How do you pass the time indoors when it’s truly disagreeable beyond your windows?