We've been in a nearly perpetual fog for two weeks as the snow is slowly melting but not making it far in the atmosphere. Winter is slowly receding, though there is still most of a foot of snow to melt. The good news around here is that the gradual warm-up has allowed the ice to break up slowly on the river, so we probably won't see as exciting of a flood event as last year. The same can't be said for other parts of North Dakota. It's also nice to have the smells of water, mud, and grass, rather than winter air and wood stove smoke.
I managed to spot one redpoll, the first I've seen all winter, visiting my new thistle feeder. The feeder has been very popular with the goldfinches, who found it the first morning it was out there. The male goldfinches are just beginning their summer moult.
In other wildlife news, I spotted a bald eagle along the river. They don't stick around here, but seem to pass through in March. Mountain bluebirds have returned and I saw dozens of them recently.
I took a bold course of action and drove to the Peaceful Valley Ranch area, where I lodged my car in the snow. After trying to get it out for an hour, I gave up and called for a ride. By that time, the great-horned owls were hooting and looking at me, and their hooting sounded more like mocking laughter. Amber and I both noticed an unusual sound that almost sounded mechanical - a high pitched tone with a regular cadence. I thought it sounded like a rope clanging against a flagpole or a machine squeaking or something. Research proved it to be a Northern saw-whet owl.
The sun was working yesterday and it should approach 60 degrees today - tropical - so I'm hoping to get the car out with the help of the sun rather than the shovel. In the meantime, I hope the bison aren't rubbing on it or taking it for a joyride.
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park Facebook fan page, which I created and have been administrating, is approaching 1000 fans. It was my goal to get 1000 before I leave the park in April, and we just might get there.