Ais i pundaun

2006 November 30
by David J. Ringer

GREENE CO., MO. — The first major storm of the winter is hovering over the Midwest today, dropping ice here in southwest Missouri. Accumulation on trees and power lines has been sufficient to cause downed limbs, localized power interruptions, malfunctioning traffic lights, and exploding transformers, but not severe enough to cause major damage or prolonged blackouts. Precipitation should change to snow in the next few hours.

Me, I love a good winter storm, and a few good birds make the deal even sweeter. Geese and ducks flew beneath heavy gray clouds this morning, and a cock robin stood still on the front lawn. A tiny bird flew across the yard into an oak tree, and its high-pitched voice was as good as a name tag: Golden-crowned Kinglet. It hovered, examining the withered leaves still clutching branches and then flitted away.

ice-twigs

Freezing rain in the early morning hours coated every surface in ice.

ice-holly

The Foster’s hollies bore well this year, and a mockingbird has taken up residence in the festive shrubs. Mockingbirds did not previously occur in the neighborhood, so this is an interesting development.

ice-forbs

Like everything else, stems and seedheads in the dense stand of asters, coneflowers, liatris, and wild indigo are encased in ice.

carolina-chickadee-poecile-carolinensis

Chickadees, titmice, and juncos are the most abundant feeder visitors today, but nuthatches, Mourning Doves, cardinals, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a Carolina Wren have been visiting too. Bluebirds and and a Downy Woodpecker lurk around the edges.

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