This morning brought the first noticeable frost. We started “work” late – I didn’t open the nets until nine. I could have opened just a little earlier, but I was having too much fun admiring where I “work” and thanking Everybody that I didn’t have to jump in a car and commute to an office or some other indoor zoo and stay there for eight hours or more. This is infinitely better.
The goldenrod flowers, some browned, some still holding their color, wore a thick layer of ice crystals, making them look much larger than they actually are (gee..wish I could say the same for me).
The nets, which are closed and furled when not in use, also had a layer of hoar frost on them. Hoar frost happens when dew or moisture comes in contact with a cold surface (nets, plants, etc.) and instantly freezes. I don’t know, however, what makes the ice crystals stand up like they do. The nets don’t actually freeze solid, they’re just a little frosty and once opened, they dry quickly. We only opened the ones that would get some sunlight and be dry and ready to go in minutes.
Even the Autumn Olive berries and leaves were covered with a thin layer of ice. There were birds everywhere in spite of the cold – the sun was up by nine and the sky clear blue – promise of a good day in the making. About 75 cedar waxwings were feeding on the Autumn Olives and on the cedar berries. About another 50 were perched at the top of a now-bare maple tree, taking in some sunshine. We later banded four, all immature birds.
One of the prettiest sights was the different grasses in the field, all covered in hoar frost. This photo doesn’t do it justice.
We found some coyote scat under one of the nets. A red-tailed hawk made a pass over another, but kept on going. There were a lot of kinglets around today, as well as white-throated, swamp, and song sparrows. And wood ducks on the pond.
What really amazes me, more than anything else, is that Blogger actually allowed me to upload these photos without giving me a major headache or taking four hours to do it. Life is good.